The other day the San Diego Zoo released this picture of a Parma wallaby in the nursery being bottle fed by senior keeper Janet Hawes.
This is one of four feedings the joey named Trinka receives each day. Trinka is an aboriginal word for daytime.
The little one also gets out of the pouch for some daily play in a pen in the nursery. And keepers have started giving her sun time in a vacant yard near the wallaby exhibit. The idea is that these activates will help her socialization and prepare her to rejoin the other wallabies at the zoo.
The joey has been cared for by keepers and vets since she was found out of her mother's pouch on July 5. She was dirty, cold and bruised, but alert and veterinarians were able to clean her up and start caring for her immediately.
This is the youngest and smallest marsupial the Zoo has been able to successfully raise. When she was found, she weighed only 51 grams, had no body hair and her ears were still pinned to her head. Wallabies like this baby, or joey, are born the size of a kidney bean and are totally unformed. They finish growing inside the mother's pouch.
In situations where marsupials are rejected by their mothers, keepers must simulate the pouch environment in order for the baby to survive.