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Brits' animal attraction to Kangaroo Dundee

MICHAEL LALLO
Last updated 18:44 07/02/2013
kangaroo
Kangaroo Sanctuary
KANGAROO DUNDEE: Chris "Brolga" Barnes.

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He lives in a tin shack without power, running water or a toilet, yet this Aussie animal rescuer has received dozens of marriage proposals from smitten British women.

Chris "Brolga" Barnes, who runs a joey orphanage in the Northern Territory outback, shot to fame in Britain last month as the star of a BBC2 documentary called Kangaroo Dundee.

The strapping 40-year-old, who describes himself as a "kangaroo mum", even takes his beloved marsupials to the supermarket.

The programme shows Barnes taking in three newly orphaned joeys, which he christened Amy, Daisy and William. Last week, it drew 1.7 million viewers in Britain, though a local broadcast has not been confirmed.

Barnes told Australia's ABC Radio: "I'm a bloke who lives in the bush who maybe gets six emails a month ... I've been having 600 in a day recently. It's going off; it's mad."

The series begins with him finding a dead kangaroo on the side of the road.

"If the kangaroo gets hit to the upper body, there's a good chance there's a little baby still alive in that pouch," he said.

"If the baby has no hair, I actually put it on my belly, skin to skin. If the baby has hair then I put it in a pillowcase and then hold it as well."

Since the program aired, Barnes has received 2000 emails - mostly from British women - and more than $20,000 in donations via his website, kangaroosanctuary.com

"We're not saving a species," he told Glover. "We're just saving that little individual orphan who's lost and sad without his mum.

"We've got to try to fill in for that little bloke or girl and get them through that awful time."

Barnes has been saving orphaned joeys for 20 years, raising them until they can be released into the wild.

He built his sanctuary himself and funds it by washing buses and stacking shelves.

He told The Times that he cares for the joeys as if he is their real mother, feeding them every four hours.

He is yet to confirm whether he is single, though he does admit to spending more time talking to animals than humans.

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- Sydney Morning Herald

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