About three months ago, a little Kangaroo joey at Allwetterzoo Münster lost her mother. Ralf Nacke, zookeeper, has since been foster parent to the joey, and he has lovingly devoted himself to her care.
Photo Credits: Allwetterzoo Münster
According to zoo staff, bottle breeding does not always work with Kangaroos, particularly when the baby is transitioning from breast milk to bottle. There were initial difficulties for the joey at the Münster Zoo, but she is now developing magnificently.
The female was recently named Alinga, which is the Aboriginal word for “the sun”. Although Alinga still requires bottle-feedings and likes to spend time in Papa Ralf’s “pouch” (backpack), keepers are introducing her to solid foods and are hopeful she will one day be integrated with the other Kangaroos at the zoo.
After five months of round-the-clock care, a young Red Kangaroo with a rough start to life has defied the odds and reunited with other members of her species at Brevard Zoo.
Lilly, born in August 2016, was found on the floor of the Zoo’s Kangaroo habitat in the early morning hours of January 23. Stress caused by a severe storm the previous evening likely caused Lilly’s mother, Jacie, to eject the joey from the pouch. After several failed attempts to reunite the two, animal care staff made the decision to hand-raise the tiny, helpless marsupial.
Bindi Irwin spends time with Lilly during her April 2017 visit to Brevard Zoo:
Photo Credits: Brevard Zoo
Lilly lived in an incubator with precise temperature and moisture levels that emulated a kangaroo’s pouch for several weeks. Lauren Hinson, the Zoo’s collection manager and Lilly’s primary caretaker, removed her six times a day for bottle-feedings.
As Lilly grew less fragile, a fabric pouch suspended from Hinson’s neck replaced the climate-controlled incubator. The joey became something of a fixture at Wednesday morning staff meetings.
“I took her home every single evening and brought her with me wherever I went,” said Hinson, who estimates she conducted 1,000 bottle feedings. “It was an incredible amount of work and a lot of missed sleep, but well worth it.”
Lilly has been taking supervised “field trips” to the Kangaroo yard since late May, but not until recently had she stayed there permanently. Keepers will need to keep a close eye on the joey in the new space and bottle-feed her twice a day for the next several months.
Although Zoo staff hopes to avoid hand raising more joeys in the future, Hinson is more than willing to put the pouch back on if need be. “I would do it again in a heartbeat,” she said.
Perth Zoo welcomed an endangered Goodfellow’s Tree Kangaroo joey, the second to be born at the zoo since 1980.
Born the size of a jellybean in July 2016, the male joey, named Haroli, is just starting to become noticeable to zoo guests. This successful birth follows the arrival of Mian, the first Goodfellow's Tree Kangaroo joey born at the zoo in 36 years, whom you met on ZooBorns last summer. Both joeys are important contributions to the World Zoo Association global breeding program for this rare species.
Photo Credit: Perth Zoo
Zoo keeper Kerry Pickles said, “Haroli and Mian are half-brothers, both fathered by Huli who came to Perth Zoo from Queensland in 2015 after being identified as the best genetic match for the breeding program.”
“Mother Doba is a first-time mum and is very cautious with her joey who has been keeping his head out of the pouch more frequently,” said Kerry. “Tree Kangaroos remain in their mother’s pouches for approximately six to eight months before testing out their wobbly arboreal legs.”
Native to Papua New Guinea, Goodfellow’s Tree Kangaroos are so endangered that zoos around the world have been working together to coordinate breeding with the aim of reversing their decline.
“Young Haroli is only the 16th male Goodfellow’s Tree Kangaroo to be born as part of the global program,” said Kerry.
“Their genetics are vitally important once they reach sexual maturity. Mian is coming of age, so there are already plans in progress for him to go to the UK to be paired with a female and help provide an insurance against extinction for his wild counterparts.”
A tiny Red Kangaroo abandoned by her mother has another shot at life thanks to the dedication of Brevard Zoo’s animal care team.
The as-yet-unnamed female, who is approximately five months old, was discovered out of her mother's pouch on Monday, January 23. She was likely ejected from the pouch due to stress from a storm the night prior. After several unsuccessful attempts to reunite the joey with her mother Jacie, animal care managers made the decision to raise the joey by hand. This joey is Jacie’s fifth baby.
Photo Credit: Brevard Zoo
“Red Kangaroos don’t start emerging from the pouch until they’re about seven months old,” said Michelle Smurl, the Zoo’s director of animal programs. “We think this joey is five months old, so the situation is still very precarious.”
Keepers feed the joey every four hours, day and night, and weigh her once per day.
Joeys are born after a 33-day gestation and complete their development in the pouch, fully emerging for the first time at seven months. At that time, the joey begins to nibble grass and leaves, but returns to the pouch to nurse until it is about a year old.
Red Kangaroos are found only in Australia and are the largest of all the world’s marsupials (pouched mammals). They inhabit Australia’s arid interior and can survive on very small amounts of water. Red Kangaroos stand more than six feet tall and weigh well over 150 pounds. The species is not currently under threat.
Perth Zoo is celebrating the birth of an endangered Goodfellow’s Tree Kangaroo joey, the first to be born there in 36 years.
The male joey, which was born the size of a jellybean eight months ago, is now out of his mother’s pouch. The joey is named Mian after a province in Papua New Guinea, the native home of the species.
Photo Credit: Perth Zoo
The joey’s birth is the result of successful matchmaking between mother Kaluli and father Huli, who were identified as the best genetic match. Mian is one of only 15 males in the global species management program, so his genetics will be highly valuable when he reaches breeding age.
Perth Zoo keepers were able to keep a close eye on the joey’s development because they trained Kaluli to have her pouch checked.
Keepers used a small camera to peer inside the pouch and were able to see when Mian’s toenails developed, when his eyes first opened, and when he first grew fur, all without disturbing Kaluli. The information gained is extremely valuable for managing the species.
Perth Zoo partners with the Tenkile Conservation Alliance in the mountains of Papua New Guinea to safeguard Tree Kangaroos in the wild.
A Western Grey Kangaroo joey emerged into the sunshine recently at Paignton Zoo Environmental Park in Devon, UK.
The rather ungainly exit from its mother’s pouch was probably the youngster’s first attempt. Born in May or June last year, it’s been developing in its mother’s pouch for months.
Paignton Zoo Curator of Mammals, Neil Bemment, said, “It’s been peeking out for a while, but the weather was just too chilly and wet for it to want to come out completely...and who can blame it!”
Photographer, and regular Paignton Zoo visitor, Miriam Haas, who took the photos, said, “It [the joey] spent a good 10 minutes or more enjoying the sunshine before returning to the safety of the pouch.”
Photo Credits: Miriam Haas
The Western Grey Kangaroo Macropus fuliginosus (also referred to as a Black-faced Kangaroo, Mallee Kangaroo, and Sooty Kangaroo) is a large and very common kangaroo found across almost the entire southern part of Australia.
The Western Grey Kangaroo is one of the largest macropods in Australia. An adult can weigh 28–54 kg (62–120 lb) and have a length of 0.84–1.1 m (2 ft 9 in–3 ft 7 in), and a 0.80–1.0 m (2 ft 7 in–3 ft 3 in) tail. They stand approximately 1.3 m (4 ft 3 in) tall.
Pouches are packed in Zoo Basel’s Kangaroo yard this spring: nearly all the females in the mob have babies!
Photo Credit: Zoo Basel
The youngsters are of varying ages, but they all have the same father, five-year-old Mitchel. No one knows the exact birthdates of the babies, which are called joeys. That’s because Kangaroo babies are the size of jellybeans at birth, and they begin life by making a very dangerous journey – the blind babies, which have only front legs, crawl unassisted from the birth canal to their mother‘s pouch. The entire birth process takes only about five minutes.
Once inside the pouch, joeys latch onto a teat and begin drinking nutritious milk. They remain in the pouch for several months as they develop, then gradually start exploring the world around them and eating solid food.
Most of Zoo Basel’s joeys were born last fall, and only recently started coming out of the pouch. One little joey named Manilla lost her mother to illness recently, but luckily two of the nursing females will allow her to drink their milk. Manilla is starting to eat solid food, but milk will be very important for her growth for another six months. One of those females, Lamilla, has her own joey in the pouch, and it peeks out from time to time.
The zoo’s Kangaroo mob has ten adults and five young kangaroos, which were born in late 2014, plus the new joeys.
Kangaroos are marsupials. Unlike placental mammals (such as humans), marsupials give birth to highly underdeveloped young which complete their development in the pouch. Most of the world’s 320 marsupial species live in Australia.
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!
Photo 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.
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.
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!
Photo 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 Aquariums’ Species 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.