• A 60kg pig and two wallabies were found in the Adelaide River, NT and safely taken to dry land. (NITV News)
As a king tide swallowed the shores, floodwaters in the Northern Territory have swept animals that don’t usually frequent the Adelaide River, and now need urgent rescuing.
By
Laura Morelli

Source:
NITV News
5 Feb 2018 - 3:08 PM  UPDATED 5 Feb 2018 - 3:11 PM

Andrew Illingworth and Dean Hutchins decided to take their boat out for a fish last Thursday but ended up catching a lot more than they bargained for.

“The boss wanted to go fishing to get the runoff after the rains, so we headed to the Windows Wetland driveway in Adelaide River,” Andrew explained.  

“I thought it was a duck but it was actually a wallabies head bopping up and down.”

The northwest of the Territory as far as the Kimberley region was battered by monsoonal rains which brought flooding and damaging winds.  

Out on the water, the pair spotted their first unique animal sighting of the day about an hour into their journey.

“I thought it was a duck in the water, but it was actually a wallabies head bopping up and down.”

They quickly moved closer to save the young animal before it fatigued or got snatched by something else lurking in the waters.

Territory Animal Solutions Control Officer, Will Green, says floods like these bring in all sorts of unexpected animals in wacky places. 

"Just this morning there was a crocodile spotted on the football field."

"When something like a dog frollicks in the water, it’s like ringing the dinner bell for a saltwater croc." 

When floods occur, animals usually try and find elevated land to stay safe, but Green says occasionally they will make a swim for it. Unfortunately, it's usually in croc-infested rivers.

“That’s when they either get stuck in the water or swept away by the current," or even worse, he explained. 

"When something like a dog frolicks in the water, it’s like ringing the dinner bell for a saltwater crocodile." 

Andrew and Dean also thought they had spotted a crocodile in the water, that was until they noticed pointy ears and a little snout.

“Initially we thought it was a crocodile, so we went to get a closer look," Andrew said.

"As soon as we were near we saw these pointy ears and round little legs and realised it was a pig!”

In total, the men spent nearly four hours rescuing two wallabies and a pig.

Once all animals were aboard the boat, it still took another 15 to 20 minutes cruising down the river to get the animals safely to dry land.

“It was nice to be able to take off the work gloves and put on a cape instead to save the animals.”

Andrew said it was too hard to tell how long the animals were in the water for, but that they were running off low energy.

“All the animals were pretty tired. They looked like they were on their last stretch.”

In the video, the first wallaby is grabbed by Dean with little restraint as it has no energy left. The second wallaby musters all its strength to swim to the boat in an attempt to get out of the water.

The pig did not resist when the men dragged it to safety. They initially grabbed a rope to tie the 60kg animal, as they are usually aggressive. The men soon realised the pig was too tired to move and just happy to be hitching a lift to dry land.   

“Don't enter the water, something bigger may come along and grab you." 

As the floods start to die down, Green says the risks for animals aren't as bad. Last week alone he rescued more than a dozen animals from the river.

While he says what Andrew and Dean were doing was low risk, he urges people to stay out of danger and 'not enter the water under any circumstance'. 

“Something bigger may come along and grab you," he warns.

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