Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Wallaby Joey is rescued and adopted by Keepers

Henry Cooper 3 May 11 (resized) DSC_0182 Henry Cooper 3 May 11 (resized) DSC_0183

This little chap was rescued by the Animal Care Team this weekend – he was discovered cold and shivering - outside of his mother’s pouch in ‘Wallaby Walkabout’ at Seaview Wildlife Encounter.

Aged approximately three months this diminutive macropod is a Bennett’s Wallaby Joey (otherwise known as a Red-Necked Wallaby) (Macropus rufogriseus). Joeys are unable to fend for themselves until approximately 12 months of age. The gestation period for these Wallabies is only 30 days – but at birth the tiny Joey crawls like a minute, hairless, partly-formed embryo up into its mother’s pouch where it suckles and continues to grow for around 9 months. Although they start to venture from the pouch for short periods, it’s only at the age of 12 – 14 months that a Joey becomes independent of its mother.

For some reason, despite repeated attempts by the Animal Keepers to assist, this Joey kept falling out of his mother’s pouch – almost as though the pouch had lost its ‘elasticity and support’ and was therefore unable to contain him.

He’s been named ‘Henry Cooper’ after our famous British boxing legend who passed away this weekend. Hopefully he’ll be blessed with the same fighting spirit! Henry is being hand-reared on a mixture of diluted evaporated milk mixed with a small amount of mashed baby fruit and vegetables. He’s just starting to get the hang of sucking the end of a syringe – although it’s still early days and there’s no certainty in terms of his survival.

We’ll keep you posted as to Henry’s progress.

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