How a roo rescue turned into a mine miracle
After 25 years of saving animals, it takes a lot to surprise wildlife rescuer Manfred Zabinskas.
But he's labelled the rescue of a kangaroo trapped in an 11m mine shaft as nothing short of a miracle.
With Del Stone and Bruce Clark, Mr Zabinskas turned up to the remote location in Vaughan, near Castlemaine northwest of Melbourne, late on Sunday night following a call from Wildlife Victoria, to find the animal cramped at the bottom of the shaft.
A gold prospector had called Wildlife Victoria after he heard a noise coming from the mine and found the roo.
"When we saw how deep the drop was I knew it would be a difficult rescue to say the least," Mr Zabinskas said.
The team returned on Monday morning to carry out the rescue in daylight, but Mr Zabinskas was sceptical.
"We knew it was alive because it had its head up looking around but there was no way of telling for sure how injured it was," he said. "We could've gone all the way down there only for it to have broken legs or serious spinal injuries, so I was really concerned."
Mr Zabinskas, 51, sedated the kangaroo, abseiled down the narrow shaft and retrieved the animal, to find she had a tiny joey in her pouch.
He was pleased to discover no obvious injuries.
"We took her home and she covered from the sedation quickly. She was bouncing around our lounge room in no time."
After a brief stint at Mr Zabinskas's wildlife shelter to calm down, she was released back into the wild.
"I've rescued many animals from mine shafts but usually they are in care for days or weeks after," he said. "I've never seen one released the same day of the rescue."