Chris ‘Brolga’ Barns established a newborn kangaroo rescue center in Alice Springs, central Australia, in 2005. The center was founded to raise and care for young kangaroos after their mothers were hit and killed by cars across Australia. Chris would frequently find the orphans by the road, still in their mother’s pouch.
From 2009 to 2011, Barns built his own wildlife sanctuary after receiving huge donations from all around the world. Currently, the refuge is home to 28 kangaroos and one camel.
Barns’ career began as a bird owner at the Pearl Coast Zoo in Broome, Western Australia. He eventually became a zookeeper in Tipperary, Northern Territory. Nonetheless, it was at the Pearl Coast Zoo that Barns first learned of an orphaned joey:
“My first encounter with an orphan kangaroo joey occurred in 1989, when I was a 17-year-old Zookeeper at the Pearl Coast Zoo in Western Australia.” Josie Jo was a gorgeous Western Grey joey reared in the zoo staff quarters where I stayed. “Having a joey in the house and helping nurture her taught me that all I wanted to do in life was be the best ‘kangaroo mom.'”
At some time in 2011, Barns received a phone call from movie director Andrew Graham-Brown, who asked whether he would be interested in making a “taster video” on his life experiences with kangaroos. The ‘taster tape’ is similar to a movie trailer in that it is aimed to get TV stations to pay for a movie or show. The BBC liked the video Andrew and Chris created, so they decided to fund a two-part series for Natural World.
People were interested in what Chris was doing because the two-part programme culminated in a BBC Two series called Kangaroo Dundee, which was entirely centered on Barns’ life with kangaroos. The second season of the television show was recently completed.