Back Roads: Feb 13

In Western Australia’s Northern wheatbelt, Heather Ewart discovers the stories of those who have devoted their lives to helping animals.

This week on ABC, Back Roads sets out to discover the wildlife carers of Western Australia’s Northern wheatbelt.

Presenter Heather Ewart takes an outback journey, travelling from the pioneer farming town of Wongan Hills to the tiny outback settlement of Paynes Find. Along the way she discovers the fascinating stories of those who have devoted their lives to helping animals.

Heather hitches a ride with vet Dr Kirsten Tunstill who takes her critically important mobile vet clinic to small rural communities. Her patients range from working sheepdogs, vital to the running of any station, through to birds, snakes and even tiny lizards. She’s seen it all!

In the near-ghost town of Buntine, Heather visits Blue Bush Wildlife Rescue. It’s run out of a suburban home by Sue and Steve Rose, and Heather finds them nursing a fruit bat, a bobtail lizard, and many baby joeys. Usually saved from the side of the road in the dead kangaroo’s pouch, Sue and Steve look after joeys for around 12-months before releasing them into their very own sanctuary called Little Bluebush.

From there, Heather heads north to Paynes Find, with just 26 residents. Two of the locals, Dave Rocke and Gail Pilmoor, run a wildlife orphanage and rehabilitation park known as PilRoc Retreat. This remote work requires them to be the fire brigade, the flying doctor contact and the callout for car crashes. Now they have added wildlife carers to the list, which has led them to having a front room full of recovering kangaroos.

Tuesday 13 February, 8pm on ABC.

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