A pair of orphaned swamp wallaby joeys will soon become friends at Taronga Zoo.
One joey has been at the zoo for a while now and is known as Akira. She was rescued after her mum was struck by a car. Taronga Zoo’s education coordinator Matt Dea took on the role of caring for the orphaned joey.
To care for young Akira he gets up at 2am for one of her five daily feeds and also carries her around in a makeshift pouch. Dea said, “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.”
Currently the one thing she doesn’t have is a friend. That is where Khaleesi comes in. She too was orphaned when her mother was hit by a car. Jodie Carr a carnivore keeper has taken on her care. Carr said, “Khaleesi is already incredibly confident. She’s starting to hop out of her makeshift pouch for a quick bound around the bedroom at 3am.”
It’s this confidence that should come in handy over the next few weeks when Khaleesi and Akira are put into a crèche together during the day so they are able to play and socialise.
Akira has a rough start to life. She was rescued by a keeper who was driving by and stopped to check the dead mothers pouch. Dea said that “She was a bit stunned, but otherwise healthy with no injuries from the car accident. We were really lucky.”
Over the next few weeks Akira will leave the back pack that has served as her pouch and explore her pouch. She will also get to enjoy the company of Khaleesi. “She’ll be a little wobbly on her feet at first, but she’ll soon be hopping in and out as she becomes more adventurous,” added Dea.
Khaleesi too had a rough start to life. Her surrogate mother Jodie Carr said, “She had a few little scrapes on her feet, but otherwise she was in good health.”
Luckily she has been receiving a mound of TLC from the carnivore team. Carr said, “All the carnivore keepers have just melted over her. They bring in native flowers, leaves and grass for her each day and she gets plenty of love and attention around the office.”
Each day Jodie takes break from the big cats to bottle feed this little one.
Her and Akira have a bright future ahead of them especially with Akira’s name meaning ‘sunshine.’
These two are just some of the 1,000 animals which Taronga Zoo rescues yearly. They serve as a reminder to motorists that they need to look out for animals and stop to check them for babies as they may save a life.
Photo Credits: Paul Fahy/ Taronga Zoo