Image: © Aussie Ark
The Animal Facts Editorial Team
July 6, 2023 10:59 pm
New South Wales, Australia
Orphaned rock wallabies Rocket and Matilda have been brought together by their carers for a perfect playdate. Aussie Ark Operations Manager Dean Reid is caring for Rocket, a brush-tailed rock wallaby while keeper Seleena de Gelder from sister organisation the Australian Reptile Park has ‘Matilda’ the Yellow-Footed Rock wallaby keeping her hands full.
Their playdate served as the perfect opportunity to socialise the joeys, an important part of their social development. These interactions help them form the social skills they will require to be part of a mob as adults.
Both began the playdate hesitant of one another but were quickly taking their first hops together. After some play time they both settled down for a bottle of hot milk and a snack on their favourite browse. Rocket loves wattle, and Matilda’s is a fan of tea-tree!
"By allowing these joeys to engage in supervised playtime, we are providing them with the best possible start in life," Mr Reid said. "We want them to thrive and be prepared for a successful reintroduction with their kind when the time is right, and Seleena and I are happy to report that they absolutely adored each other! The outcome of the play date is exactly what we wanted.”
“It was so rewarding to have the opportunity to bring Matilda and Rocket together," Ms de Gelder agreed. "Since both joeys were rescued at such a young age, they unfortunately hadn’t socialised with other rock wallabies just yet. Now that they’re both beginning the weaning process, socialising the pair is critical, so a play date was the perfect idea."
Rocket was orphaned at 5.5 months old and taken in by Dean while Matilda came in to care after her mother developed a prolapsed pouch.
Aussie Ark and the Australian Reptile Park are both involved in conservation efforts for rock wallabies. The yellow-footed rock wallaby is listed as 'near threatened' while the brush-tailed species is listed as 'vulnerable.' Yellow-footed rock wallabies now number just 5,000 individuals while there are 20,000 brush-tailed rock wallabies.
Keeper Seleena de Gelder (left) from the Australian Reptile Park feeds Matilda the yellow footed rock wallaby and Dean Reid (right) from Aussie Ark feeds Rocket the Brush-Tailed Rock wallaby. Image: © Aussie Ark
When the young leave the pouch they don’t get in and out like other kangaroos do, but are left by their mothers while she goes to get food.
Image: © Aussie Ark
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