Jarrah is a six-month-old Quokka joey being hand-raised at Taronga Zoo by Keeper Kristal. Kristal was delighted to become a surrogate mum after the youngster left its mother’s pouch too early. At this age, the joey is tiny and needs full time care.
For the next few months, wherever Kristal goes Jarrah will go too. By day Jarrah stays in a specially set-up nursery with a bag that mimics a pouch which the youngster can hop in and out of. While Kristal is doing office work, Jarrah likes to be extra close, curling up near Kristal’s chest. This makes little Jarrah feel extra secure.
Photo Credit: Taronga Zoo
Read about Jarrah's nighttime care, and see more pictures, after the fold:
At night Kristal takes the joey home with her. Jarrah keeps her on her toes, running around the house between her feet. Once Jarrah has used up all that extra bounce, it will curl up on her shoulder and give her a good lick on the face before nodding off. As any new parent knows, caring for an infant can be exhausting. Even after a full day at work caring for the animals at Backyard to Bush, Kristal is up during the night to make sure the joey gets a bottle.
Kristal will continue nursing until Jarrah is old enough to join the two other hand-raised Quokkas, Poppy Lou and Autumn, at the Education Centre. Jarrah will grow up to have an important role at the Education Centre meeting children so that they can understand the importance of looking after our wildlife first-hand.