Central Albertans knit and sew for Australia’s wildlife: baby kangaroos, bats, wallabys

Rescued and orphaned baby kangaroos in Australia may not have their momma’s pouches to feel safe, but they will have a hand-made pouch, thanks to central Alberta crafters.

Sylvan Lake resident Jackie Larocque is participating in the Canada-wide initiative to collect knitted and crocheted pouches and nests to help the Australian wildlife that would otherwise be at risk of death because of stress due to the wildfires.

The initiative by the Canadian Animal Rescue Craft Guild has crafters coast to coast helping animals rescued from the wildfires.

Larocque, an animal advocate, decided to participate in the initiative with the help of pet stores in Sylvan Lake, Red Deer, Lacombe and Rocky Mountain House.

Monday, she said as a crafter herself, she knows there are many central Albertans who knit and sew, especially seniors, and these are the same people who want to help the wildlife in Australia, but didn’t have avenues to do so.

“So I got in touch with the Canadian Wildlife Rescue Craft Guild, and they had all the patterns and they were in touch with the Australian guild,” she said.

“There are a lot of animals over there in trouble and there are a lot of people here who want to help, and they have the talent and the skills to do that, so I thought let’s get people involved.”

As someone who has helped Alberta’s wildlife rehabilitate in the past – something Larocque did for about seven years – she said she knows in such instances, or during floods or oil spills, wildlife don’t make it due to the stress they endure.

The hand-made materials are intended to make birds and animals feel safe and help them rehabilitate.

“They’re being used after the animals come in from the fire as a rehabilitation tool for them, to help them heal, to raise the orphans as natural way as we can, because we obviously don’t have a pouch like a momma kangaroo does, but we can sew pouches that will emulate what would be in a mother kangaroo. Not as good, but better than nothing,” she explained Monday.

Central Alberta crafters were asked to knit or crochet pouches for kangaroos, wallabys and kangaroo rats, nests for birds or rodents, and smaller jackets and sweaters for flying squirrels, among others items.

“We make little bat pouches. That way, they can go in and they feel a lot more secure than in the open. We try to use what we have with materials we have, to try and simulate what they would be in the wild, and although its not perfect, it’s better than nothing.”

The animal lover plans to collect the last set of items on Jan. 24 at the drop sites.

For more information, find The Garage Grooming Shop or Canadian Wildlife Rescue Craft Guild on Facebook.


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This Jan. 8, 2020 photo provided by Jackie Maisey shows Grey-headed Flying Fox bats prepared for a feeding at the Uralla, Australia, home of Maisey, a volunteer with Northern Tableands Wildlife Carers. The bats are swaddled in flannel wraps similar to those being made by thousands of crafters worldwide who are using their sewing, knitting and crocheting skills to make items for wildlife injured in the Australian brush fires. Some animal rescue groups, however, say monetary donations are needed more. (Jackie Maisey via AP)

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