A heartwarming tale for this weeks instalment – All about cupcake…Cupcake’s story begins on September 15th 2018.
Weighing in at a very tiny 400g, cupcake was found at her mums side by keepers doing their morning checks. Unfortunately mum did not make it and tiny wallaby was only an estimated 100 days old with about 60% of pouch life completed.
Nothing can replace a mums upbringing (or dads) but Sometimes animals just need a helping hand and so, determined to give this little one the best chance, in-stepped staff. Regular 2 hour feeds began and a makeshift pouch constructed out of snuggly towels and canvas shopping bags so she could be carried “just like mum would”. We also soon learnt although appearingly quiet they have a series of chips and barks which generally seemed to mean “feed me” or “give me attention” – but we also learnt that popping back in the pouch and swinging back and forth encourages a wallaby back to sleep, even at 4am!
We keep a stock of “wambaroo” – a kangaroo milk replacer in stock. It cannot be bought in the uk, but is shipped in from Australia and is specially formulated to provide young joeys what they nutritionally need.
Initially, Cupcake’s weight gain was very slow and made some worrying drops. The first couple of days feeding through a make shift tiny bottle and teat was difficult for cupcake to grasp the hang of. Daily “weigh-ins” showed very little change but over time we all started to cheer as 400g increased to 407, then 415, then 425 together with her increased activity levels.
Within 10 days her weight had reached a respectable 515g and her activity levels were increasing, as opposed to sleeping a lot of the day in her pouch. Solid foods were introduced with bits of apple, carrot, spinach but she loved the specially formulated pellet. Although specialized pellet really aimed at adult Roos it’s always good if hand reared animals will eat what the rest of the group – no one wants to cater for a fussy eater.
We recorded a lot of information in cupcakes first few days and weeks which will give us and other wallaby holders a guidance as to what worked for us.
After 15 days and weighing in at 740g, cupcake was moved to a confined area of the kanagaroo house where she could see and smell the other Roos, maintenance constructed her a special den which would eventually go outside with her when she was released back with the group. She’s not had a mum to teach her about cold nights and how to hunker down a den she knows as hers and also picking the right time of the year for her release was vital.
Last week, with the arrival of the nice weather, cupcake made her first hops into the big wide world as she was released into the world wide safari to join her fellow wallabies.
There were 2/3 days earlier on in our adventures where her weight slipped continuously downward and we were worried we were going to lose her so her release out into the Australia area with the rest of the wallabies and Roos is a big day, a day of many happy tears. Although tentative and shy at first She’s feisty, full of sass and will soon be holding her own out in the WWS.
Once believed to be Extinct in the wild, Parma wallabies were rediscovered in 1965.
Sometimes animals just need a helping hand !