The animals would have died from exhaustion or been eaten by crocodiles.
After monsoon-type weather hit Australia’s Northern Territory early last week (29-30 January), several animals got swept away into the Adelaide River. Only problem was, the waters are infested with crocodiles.
The animals’ fate would have been sealed, were it not for two men who decided to rescue the stranded creatures with just their boat and throwing their bodies into action, reports NITV.
Fishermen Andrew Illingworth and Dean Hutchinson were hoping to take advantage of the recent heavy rains to catch more fish on Thursday (1 February) and made their way to the Windows Wetland driveway in Adelaide River.
However, they ended up spending most of the day rescuing trapped animals. An hour into their journey, they spotted a young wallaby struggling to stay afloat.
“I thought it was a duck in the water, but it was actually a wallaby’s head bopping up and down,” said Illingworth.
The two men quickly grabbed the animal and pulled it to safety on their boat. Shortly afterwards, Illingworth and Hutchinson saw what they thought was a crocodile not too far from their boat.
“As soon as we were near we saw these pointy ears and round little legs and realised it was a pig.”
The pair managed to get the 60kg wild boar on board by the sheer strength. They initially considered using a rope to drag it to safety (wild pigs can be aggressive) however, the animal appeared too tired to put up a struggle.
Another wallaby used all of its energy to scramble into the boat and made no attempt to escape from the two fishermen. Although he could only speculate on how long the mammals had been stranded in the water, Illingworth thinks they had little energy left.
“All the animals were pretty tired. They looked like they were on their last stretch.”
In total, the rescue operation went on for four hours. It then took them about an hour-and-a-half to reach the safety of dry land.
How the animals got trapped in the water
The Territory Animal Solutions (TAS) also ran rescue operations last week. They shared a one-minute video clip on Wednesday (31 January) showing how they had rescued a stranded dog from the dangerous waters. The video has since garnered 1,500 views since it was posted online.
Will Green, who works for the TAS said it was common for animals to end up in strange locations after floods. “Just this morning there was a crocodile spotted on the football field.”
During floods, animals will usually reach for higher plains, however, they can sometimes end up swimming for their lives. Often, rescuers find themselves in a race against time, as the animals risk death from exhaustion or being snaffled up in crocodile-infested waters.
“When something like a dog frolics in the water, it’s like ringing the dinner bell for a saltwater crocodile.”
Last week alone, TAS rescued dozens of animals but the floods are fast receding and the situation is reverting back to normal. However, Green warns against playing the hero and trying to rescue animals without training. Although what Illingworth and Hutchinson did was low-risk, it is better to stay away from flood-swollen rivers.
“Something bigger may come along and grab you,” Green cautioned.