Kangaroo & Wallaby

Orphaned Kangaroo Raised by Wallaby at Adelaide Zoo

1_Adelaide Zoo Tree Kangaroo April 2015

In a world first for conservation, Adelaide Zoo Keepers and Veterinarians saved the life of an orphaned Goodfellow’s Tree Kangaroo, by utilizing a surrogate wallaby mother. It’s a technique never attempted before with a Tree Kangaroo!

2_Adelaide Zoo Goodfellows Tree Kangaroo Cross Foster Photo © Zoos SA

3_Adelaide Zoo Tree Kangaroo March 2015

4_Adelaide Zoo Goodfellows Tree Kangaroo April 2015 Photo © Zoos SA Dave MattnerPhoto Credits: Zoos SA

In November last year, zookeepers arrived early one morning to make a horrible discovery. Overnight, a falling branch had crushed the zoo’s three-year-old female Tree Kangaroo, orphaning a five-week-old joey.

Acting on pure adrenalin, zookeepers made the decision to try and save the tiny joey. Due to the young age of the joey, hand rearing was not possible, which meant the only option available was to try and ‘cross-foster’ the joey into the pouch of a surrogate wallaby mother.

‘Cross-fostering’, a special breeding technique that Adelaide Zoo began pioneering in the 1990s, involves the transfer of endangered joeys to the pouch of a surrogate mother of a different wallaby species. This accelerates the breeding cycle of the original wallaby, allowing the female to increase its reproduction rate up to six or eight times in some species. This means Adelaide Zoo can build the captive population of an endangered species much more quickly.

Adelaide Zoo Veterinarian, Dr. David McLelland, says cross fostering has never been attempted on a Tree Kangaroo until that fateful morning. “We’ve had great success over the years’ cross-fostering between wallaby species, but the specialized breeding technique has never been used on a Tree Kangaroo,” David said.

“Not only are tree kangaroos distant relatives of wallabies, they also have many behavioral and physical differences. We had no idea if the Yellow-Foot Rock-Wallaby would accept the Tree Kangaroo joey, but if we wanted to save the joey we had to try our luck.”

The cross-foster procedure, to get the Tree Kangaroo joey to latch on to the new teat, ran smoothly and an anxious couple of days followed as zoo keepers closely monitored the wallaby to determine if the attempt was successful.

Adelaide Zoo Team Leader of Natives, Gayl Males, says tiny ripples of movement over the following days confirmed the joey was alive and thriving, tucked carefully away in its surrogate mother’s pouch.

“We were so excited when we confirmed the joey had made it past the first critical 24 hour period. We were uncertain as to whether the joey was going to be accepted. This joey was completely different from other joeys in body shape and behavior. It certainly wriggled around more than a wallaby joey!” Gayl said.

“The joey, which we named Makaia, first popped its head out of the pouch around the end of January. It was certainly a sight to see a Tree Kangaroo joey, with its reddish-tan fur, bright blue eyes and long claws riding around in a wallaby!”

“He stayed with his wallaby mum for about three and half months until I took over caring for him and in effect became his third mum. He’s certainly a cheeky little fellow and loves running amok, testing the boundaries, using my home as his personal playground, climbing on everything, pulling toilet paper off the rolls, but he also loves quiet time cuddling with my husband in the evening while we watch TV.”

“He truly is a special little guy and I am so pleased that Adelaide Zoo has the staff and expertise to successfully perform this world first cross-foster. Makaia is the result of all our hard work; we can’t wait to share his amazing story with the world!”

Makaia spends the day at the zoo and goes home with Gayl over evenings and on her days off. He will continue to be cared for full-time until he no longer requires overnight feeds and will be weaned at around 15-18 months old.

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Orphaned Wallaby Joey Finds a Home at Taronga Zoo

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An education coordinator at Taronga Zoo in Australia has taken on the role of surrogate dad to an orphaned Swamp Wallaby joey, whose mother was struck by a car near Sydney. About 6 months old, the joey has been named ‘Alkira’, which means ‘sunshine’. 

Matt Dea has been hand-raising the female joey for the past two weeks, carrying a makeshift pouch and waking up at 2 am for one of five daily bottle feedings. 

“Caring for such a young joey is very involved and she hasn’t left my side. She comes home with me, she comes to the shops and she sleeps beside my desk at work each day,” said Dea. 

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Photo credit: Taronga Zoo

See and read more after the fold.

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Tree Kangaroo Joey Ready to Rocket from Mother’s Pouch

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A Matschie’s Tree Kangaroo joey is now peeking out of its mom’s pouch at the Saint Louis Zoo’s Emerson Children’s Zoo!

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TreeKangaroo_St Louis_4Photo Credits: Robin Winkelman

 

On February 1, the little male, named Rocket, was born the size of a lima bean. He immediately moved into his mother’s pouch to be nurtured and has since grown to be the size of a small cat.

Visitors who are patient may see Rocket climbing all the way out of the pouch, reaching for his mom’s food and beginning to explore his world. At about 10 months old, he will officially move out of the pouch, but will continue to nurse until he is at least 16 months old.

This is the fifth offspring for mother, Kasbeth, and father, Iri. The new baby is the fifth Tree Kangaroo ever to be born at the Saint Louis Zoo. Kasbeth and Iri were paired under the recommendation of the Association of Zoos and AquariumsSpecies Survival Plan for Tree Kangaroos.

Matschie’s Tree Kangaroo is a small marsupial found only in the thick, mountainous forests of Papua New Guinea, an island just south of the equator, north of Australia. A relative of terrestrial kangaroos, the reddish-brown and cream colored Tree Kangaroo also retains the legendary ability to jump. The Tree Kangaroo can leap as far as 30 feet from a tree to the ground.

The Tree ‘Roo’ is currently listed as “Endangered” on the IUCN Red List. Numbers in the wild have declined significantly. Twenty years ago, the species was only classified as “Vulnerable”. Today, not only is their habitat facing destruction because of logging and exploration for minerals and oil, but the animals are also hunted by local people. 

Watch another video of the joey below the fold.

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Lincoln Children's Zoo Hand-raises Baby Tammar Wallaby

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A seven-month-old Tammar Wallaby joey is one of the newest additions to the Lincoln Children's Zoo. Liv the Wallaby joey was found out of her mother's pouch one morning and was immediately rescued by zookeepers. Still being hand-raised, Liv is carried in a make-shift pouch to substitute the body warmth and shelter provided by a Wallaby mother's pouch.

"Lincoln Children's Zoo is one of the only zoos that has hand-raised this specific species of Wallaby in the United States," president & CEO, John Chapo said. "It's a time consuming effort. The zookeeepers were feeding her eight times a day, adjusting the formula to provide the accurate amount of fat content a mother would supply and getting it switched over to solid food."

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"Normally Liv would be in her mother's pouch for nine months of her life, but we have experienced her growth and development one-on-one from the beginning," said Taylor Daniels, one of the zookeepers caring for Liv at Lincoln Children's Zoo. "Seeing Liv throughout all stages of her life and getting to know her personality has been incredible."
 
Wallabies and Kangaroos are Marsupials, but Wallabies are generally much smaller than Kangaroos. Tammar Wallabies are the smallest species of Wallaby. Lincoln Children's Zoo now has six Tammar Wallabies, including Liv, as well as two Bennett's wallabies.
 
Liv is still too young to join the zoo's other Wallabies, but zoo visitors will be able to see Liv when she begins making appearances on the Animal Encounter Stage in early July. Lincoln Children's Zoo's Animal Encounter Stage features different animals for children to interact with and discover first-hand every day.


Wallaby Joey Gets a Helping Hand at Taronga Zoo

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A Swamp Wallaby who was rejected by her mother is being cared for by zoo keepers at Australia’s Taronga Zoo.

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Swamp Wallaby joey 3 June 2014 (40)cropPhoto Credit:  Taronga Zoo

The six-month-old female joey was found separated from her mother in the zoo’s Wallaby exhibit.  Keepers’ attempts to reunite the joey, named Mirrawa, with her mother were unsuccessful, so they took on the job of caring for the joey.

Mirrawa is currently being fed milk developed specifically for Wallabies.  She’s just beginning to chew on soft new growth leaves of a few native plants, such as bottlebrush.

Keepers will care for Mirrawa until she is about eight months old.  At that time, she’ll be reintroduced to the exhibit, where she will live among the Wallaby group.

Swamp Wallabies are common in the forests and scrublands of easternmost Australia.  They emerge at night to feed on a wide variety of plants.  

See more photos of Mirrawa below.

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Roger Williams Park Zoo Welcomes Endangered Tree Kangaroo

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Roger Williams Park Zoo in Rhode Island has just announced the birth of a Matschie’s Tree Kangaroo, born in October last year. The female joey, named Holly, is the first tree kangaroo birth at the zoo in over 20 years, and one of only one of three born in captivity in the U.S. last year.

Tree Kangaroos are an Endangered species, and are part of a Species Survival Program – a cooperative breeding program through the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) that aims to rehabilitate endangered and threatened species populations.

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3 kangarooPhoto credit: Roger Williams Park Zoo

See video of mother and baby:

Zoo keepers discovered that the female tree kangaroo was pregnant after the announcement of the zoo’s plans to build a new tree kangaroo exhibit in the Australasia building by spring 2014.

“The first six months after birth is a critical time for both mother and baby. For this reason, we have put construction of the new exhibit on hold until late June 2014,” said Zoo Executive Director Dr. Jeremy Goodman, DVM. The exhibit will feature indoor and outdoor viewing areas with easy access for the animals between both spaces, giving guests a much improved view of the animals. Opening of the new exhibit is planned for early fall.

See and read more after the fold!

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Orphan Tree Kangaroos - A ZooBorns First!

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Meet Kimberely and Anneli, two orphaned Lumholtz Tree Kangaroos in the care of Margit Cianelli, one of only two people licensed to rescue and rehabilitate this lesser known Australian species. Both joeys are thriving under Margit's expert care but have tough stories.

Annelli and Kimberley

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Kimberely (the larger one) was found in a water stream after falling from the trees. Some local aboriginals swimming nearby pulled her out (saving her life) and attempted to reconnect her with her mother in the trees above. The mother however, did not show interest in the joey and hence Margit was given the joey to hand raise. Margit suspects that the mother rejected Kimberley because she is an extremely active joey and she may have been too much to deal with. It’s possible she was a first time mother.

Anneli the smaller of the two was found near a farm area motionless under a water pump. Clearly she had been separated by her mother for days as she was suffering physically being weak, malnourished and dehydrated. She was very light and when taken to the vet she was discovered to be suffering from pneumonia, septicemia and multiple infections. She was placed on an IV drip for seven days and against the odds she recovered and has transformed into a healthy young joey.

DONT MISS THIS AMAZING VIDEO

Margit has cared for over 15 Tree Kangaroos joeys in the past and is seen as a pioneer in Tree Kangaroo rehabilitation. She often has the joeys for over a year as preparing them for return to the wild is a long process. They need to be taught how to climb (this includes daily exercise in the climbing yard), they get taught what foods are safe to eat (the spaghetti is a treat), they also are nurtured and encouraged to be confident upon release.

Tree Kangaroos are a highly territorial species and finding unoccupied space can be challenging. Initially when released Margit will put radio collars on her roos and allow them to return until they have found their own territory to ensure they survive during their first few weeks in the wild.

Both Australian species of Tree Kangaroo, the Lumholtz and Bennett's, are currently under threat due to habitat fragmentation from human encroachment, car accidents and dogs whose territory they pass through while looking for new homes.

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Kimberley with leafPhoto and Video Credits: Adam Cox, Wakaleo / Creatura Channel

Want to do more to help Tree Kangaroos? Check out the nearby Tree Roo Rescue and Conservation Centre. Video of their current guests below:

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Peekin' Out of Mom's Pouch: Meet Zoo Miami's New Kangaroo Joey

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An Endangered Matchie’s Tree Kangaroo has begun to peek out of its mother’s pouch at Zoo Miami. Though it is just now exposing itself, this joey is believed to have actually been born approximately 5 months ago.  As with most marsupials, Tree Kangaroos are born in an almost embryonic state after a pregnancy of about 44 days. The newborn is only the size of a jelly bean and slowly crawls into the mother’s pouch where it locks onto a nipple and then the majority of development takes place.

Now more fully formed, the little one is still hairless and while it peeks out of the pouch, it will stay confined there for the next several months, continuing to develop before venturing away from its mother.  It will not be totally weaned until it is around a year old. 

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Photo Credit: Zoo Miami

Matchie’s tree kangaroos live at high elevations in the Huon Peninsula of Papua New Guinea where they spend most of their time up in trees feeding on a variety of leaves, ferns, moss, and bark.  They are believed to be solitary animals and the only strong social bond formed is between a mother and her offspring.  Both Mom and joey will remain off exhibit for several weeks to allow for proper bonding and to help facilitate a smooth introduction for this wonderful new addition!

Read more and see more pictures after the fold:

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Rare Albino Wallaby Joey Grows Up at Linton Zoo

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When keepers at the United Kingdom’s Linton Zoo first saw the oddly-colored joey peeking out of Red-necked Wallaby Kylie’s pouch on February 8, they affectionately named it ALF (Alien Life Form).  But as the pale-colored joey grew, they realized its dramatic white coloring was truly stunning!  These photos show the joey’s progression from pouch-dweller to snow-white juvenile. Though the joey is now half-grown, it still tries to squeeze into its mother's pouch for a little TLC.

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Albino Red Necked Wallaby joey with mum Kylie 10.05.13 (8)
 
Albino Red Necked Wallaby joey with mum Kylie 10.05.13 (5)
Photo Credit:  Linton Zoo

 

Albino animals (including humans) lack pigment for coloring, which means the joey has pink eyes and white fur. Red-necked Wallabies are usually grey-brown in color, but on rare occasions, a white or albino is born, even after generations of normal-colored individuals. The Linton Zoo staff believes their Wallaby mob is descended from the group of Wallabies given as a gift to Queen Elizabeth II while she was on a state visit to Australia in 1962. This joey is the first albino Wallaby to be born at the Linton Zoo.

See more photos of the albino Wallaby joey below the fold.

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Norbert the Nabarlek Becomes Perth Zoo’s Pint-sized Ambassador

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A rarely-seen young Nabarlek, found curled up in his mother’s pouch after she was killed by a car, has taken up residence at Australia’s Perth Zoo.  Nabarleks are also known as Pygmy Rock Wallabies.

Named Norbert, he is the only Nabarlek in a zoo anywhere, according to the Perth Zoo.

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Photo Credit:  Perth Zoo

Norbert was discovered by a wildlife rehabilitator, who provided care for several months.  At the time Norbert was taken in, he weighed just 6.5 ounces (186 grams).  Because he doesn’t have the skills to survive in the wild, Norbert was brought to the Perth Zoo where he will become a pint-sized ambassador for this little-known species.  

Perth Zoo Director of Animal Health and Research Dr. Peter Mawson said adult Nabarleks are only about 12 inches (30 cm) tall.  They are rarely seen because they inhabit remote areas and emerge only at night to feed on ferns and reeds.

Nabarleks are in the macropod family of marsupials, which includes kangaroos and wallabies.  “An interesting feature is that because of the tough nature of the plants included in their diet, the four or five molar teeth in each section of the jaw progressively move forward during the Narbalek’s life, ensuring that it is never without the teeth it needs to chew its tough food. Narbaleks are the only macropod that do this,” said Dr. Mawson.

Guests can meet Norbert starting this weekend at the Perth Zoo.

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