Wilbur the Red-necked Wallaby has found happiness with a new family after his birth mother tragically passed away while he was still in the pouch. He has been ‘adopted’ by another female at Blackpool Zoo, which is an extremely rare occurrence among marsupials.
Keepers came to work on June 16 to find Wilbur in the pouch of his mother, who had died during the night. They immediately removed him and the decision was taken to hand-rear him. Senior mammal keeper Sofie Fawzy took Wilbur home and fed him at three hour intervals for eleven days before the team decided to mix him with other members of the group for interaction.
Another mother and baby were already in a separate area of the Wallaby Walkabout so the orphan was gradually introduced. Keepers were amazed to see that after just two days Wilbur was feeding from the female and getting on with well with the other joey. The situation was very closely monitored and keepers continued to weigh Wilbur to ensure he was gaining weight at a satisfactory speed. Wilbur and his new family will remain cordoned off from the rest of the group as they continue to bond, but should be out and about in the Wallaby Walkabout in the coming month.
Read more of the wallaby baby story after the jump: