Orphaned kangaroo adopted by wallaby mama. Our hearts!
There is nothing more special on this earth than when two different species bond like momma and baby. It’s a testament to the fact that we’re not so different and all you need is love, and a bunch of other clichè-because-they’re-true sayings. So we were overjoyed this week, when the Adelaide Zoo introduced us to Makaia, an orphaned tree kangaroo saved by the mothering paws of a wallaby.
Makaia was just 47 days old when his mother was crushed by a fallen branch. Miraculously, he survived those first few days and was introduced to a wallaby who took the young ‘roo in as her own, keeping him warm and safe in her pouch.
On top of being super-sweet, it’s the first time these zoo keepers have been able to encourage cross-fostering with a tree kangaroo. Cross-fostering is exactly what it sounds like: An orphaned baby animal is placed with a surrogate of another species.
“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,” Dr David McLelland said on the zoo’s website. “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 would accept the tree kangaroo joey, but if we wanted to save the joey we had to try our luck.”
Now, Makaia is being cared for by Team Leader of Natives Gayl Males, having spent three and a half months with his wallaby mom. “He’s certainly a cheeky little fellow,” she said. “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.”
This story pulls on our heartstrings and so does this video of Makaia just doing his thing.