A Sanctuary for Orphaned Kangaroos Whose Mothers Have Been Hit by Cars
In 2005 Chris ‘Brolga’ Barns set up a baby kangaroo rescue centre in central Australia’s Alice Springs. The centre was created to raise and nurture orphaned kangaroos whose mothers had been struck and killed by vehicles in Australia. Often Chris would find the orphans at the side of the road still in their mother’s pouch.
After receiving generous donations from around the world, Barns went on to build his own wildlife sanctuary from 2009-2011. The sanctuary currently houses 28 kangaroos and one camel.
Barns’ career began as a bird keeper at Pearl Coast Zoo in Broome, Western Australia. Later he was a zookeeper at Tipperary in the Northern Territory. It was at Pearl Coast Zoo however, when Barns had his first experience with an orphaned joey:
“My first experience with an orphan kangaroo joey was in 1989 when I was a 17 yr old Zookeeper at Pearl Coast Zoo in Western Australia. Her name was Josie Jo – a beautiful Western Grey joey being raised at the zoo staff quarters where I lived. The adventure of having a joey in the house and helping raise her made me realise that all I wanted to do in life was be the best ‘kangaroo mum’.” [source]
One day in 2011, Barns received a phone call from film director Andrew Graham-Brown, asking if Barns would be interested in doing a ‘taster tape’ about his life with kangaroos. The ‘taster tape’ is kind of like a move trailer made to entice broadcasters to commission a film or show. The tape Andrew and Chris made was well received by the BBC and they decided to fund a two-part series for Natural World.
It turns out people cared about what Chris was doing because the two-part series lead to a BBC Two series entirely dedicated to Barns’ life with kangaroos called, Kangaroo Dundee. The show has just completed its second season.
– The Kangaroo Sanctuary Alice Springs
– The Kangaroo Sanctuary Alice Springs on Facebook
– BBC Two: Kangaroo Dundee
– BBC TV Blog: Kangaroo Dundee – Sharing my life
– The Telegraph: My perfect weekend – Chris Barns, kangaroo sanctuary owner
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