Kangaroos are one of the most popular animals that come from Australia. Children adore them for their cute-fluffy fur and for carrying even cuter baby joeys inside their pouch. However, another less known fact about kangaroos is that they are surprisingly good swimmers! Along with balancing when standing high up on its hind legs, its strong tail also helps them swim.
Recently one such kangaroo took a deep dive into the ocean. Be it from losing its balance, defending itself from prey, or wanting to cool down, we are unsure, but it leaped off some rocks and got pulled back into the deeper parts of the sea.
That’s when 17-year-old Lillian Bee Young sprung into action, swimming out to the kangaroo at Iluka near Yamba, located along the north coast of NSW, in an attempt to save it.
“My other workmate, Carissa and I, we were sitting on the tractor and she goes, ‘Oh my God, there’s a kangaroo jumping off the rocks!’ and we were just figuring out what we should do … because we’ve never had that happen before,” Lillian said.
The episode occurred on Young’s fourth day on duty as a lifeguard on the evening of New Year’s Eve, at the ocean side inside the Bundjalung National Park. Shocked spectators watched as what seemed to be an eastern dim kangaroo bounced over a stone stage and fell into the sea.
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“We get quite a few kangaroos around. I guess it just hopped out of the bushes and there were fishermen on the rocks…so it sort of wanted to jump back and steer clear of them and then just got wiped out by a set,” Young continued. “It was just drifting out and didn’t want to come in to the beach because it was sort of scared.”
Lillian added that she immediately chose to get the rescue board and help the troubled roo, which was able to keep from drowning for the time being but was struggling to swim back to shore.
“I was trying to figure out how, if I needed to, get it on the board … but also it’s a wild animal … even though you’re helping I wouldn’t want it to hurt me or make it more stressed out,” she said.
A great deal of beachgoers who saw the kangaroo hopping into the ocean assembled on the shore, and Young said her co-worker advised them to move away and give the kangaroo space to regain its composure and settle down. Recordings taken by spectators show the creature endeavoring to leap out of the waves a few times, but nothing seemed to work as the waves and current was too strong.
“It was quite a windy day, very choppy,” Lillian said. “I paddled behind it and sort of guided it into the beach.”
When the kangaroo finally came to shore and jumped onto the sand, there were grins and elated faces from the onlookers.
“It was quite special. There were people cheering and clapping … and then the kangaroo was just sitting there up in the bushes, almost, I thought, as a thank you … it was really serene,” Lillian said.
Lillian is now completing her twelfth year and is quite the aspiring expert surfer.
“I didn’t think that was gonna ever be my first rescue…a kangaroo at my local, but it’s pretty special!”