Two orphaned Swamp Wallaby joeys could soon become playmates, after being rescued from the roadside and hand-raised at Taronga Zoo.
The two female joeys, ‘Khaleesi’ and ‘Alkira’, enjoyed a brief introduction this week alongside surrogate parents and Taronga staffers, Jodie Carr and Matt Dea.
Taronga keeper, Jodie, said the pair could soon be put into a creche together to socialise and play during the day, as they grow and become more independent.
“Khaleesi is already incredibly confident. She’s starting to hop out of her makeshift pouch for a quick bound around the bedroom at 3am,” said Jodie, who has been providing round-the-clock care for Khaleesi for the past month.
The joey was brought to Taronga Wildlife Hospital after its mother was struck and killed by a car at Beacon Hill.
“She had a few little scrapes on her feet, but otherwise she was in good health,” said Jodie.
A carnivore keeper by day, Jodie has been carrying a makeshift pouch and breaking from her normal duties looking after Taronga’s big cats to bottle feed Khaleesi four times a day with the help of her fellow keepers.
“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,” she said.
Alkira, whose name means ‘sunshine’, arrived at Taronga Wildlife Hospital two weeks before Khaleesi, when her mother was killed by a car at Oxford Falls. Fortunately, a Taronga Zoo keeper spotted the wallaby beside the road and discovered the joey still alive inside the pouch.
Jodie said Alkira and Khaleesi’s stories should serve as a reminder for motorists to watch out for wildlife on the roads this summer.
“It’s also really important to stop and check those pouches, as it could mean saving a little life like Khaleesi’s,” she said.
Taronga Wildlife Hospital cares for and treats over 1,000 injured or orphaned native animals every year, including wallabies, wombats, possums, echidnas, birds and sea turtles.