The staff at the National Zoological Gardens of South Africa recently stepped in to assist a young Red Kangaroo joey that was rejected by its mother. Norvy, as the joey has affectionately been named, is the first baby for this mom and it’s believed that something must have startled her, causing her to scoop the joey out of her pouch. She wouldn't allow her joey back in, and the youngster was too uncoordinated, weak and young to climb back into the pouch on it's own.
When the joey was was found abandoned in the Kangaroo enclosure, she was immediately rushed to the zoo’s veterinary hospital where her body temperature was stabilized. Under normal circumstances, Norvy would need to stay in the pouch for another 1-2 months before peeking out, so she now has her own home-made, heated pouch in which to cozily complete that time. Norvy is fed a special milk mixture from a bottle every two to three hours and is doing very well.
Normally, Kangaroos have a gestation period of 35 days where the underdeveloped joey crawls out of the birth canal, up the mom's stomach and into the pouch. There the joey attaches to one of the teats, which then swells in the joey’s mouth to prevent it from letting go of it. The joey will spend between five and six months in the pouch until it is old enough to venture out on its own. Once little Norvy is weaned and eating solids well, she will be introduced back into the family group through a safe step-by-step introduction program.
Photo Credit: National Zoological Gardens of South Africa