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An adorable baby warru named Lucky Boy has taken to being fed from a bottle of milk by a zookeeper in Adelaide Zoo, footage published by Zoos South Australia (Zoos SA) shows.
The footage shows a keeper feeding Lucky Boy, a warru (also known as a black-flanked rock-wallaby).
Zoos SA said Lucky Boy arrived at Adelaide Zoo in early April weighing just 250g and received round-the-clock care. Zookeepers believe he was thrown from his mother’s pouch as a survival response to potential predators.
“He has a big personality for such a little joey," said Deb Barry, an assistant curator at Adelaide Zoo. “He is inquisitive, strong-willed, and very robust. He’s also just started to come out of his pouch more often and is bouncing around.”
Once he is big enough, Lucky Boy will be returned to the wild. Credit: Zoos SA via Storyful
DEB BARRY: Really important when they're first being raised.
- And often we find that you can't switch carers easily when they're young because we--
- Yeah, OK.
- --keep everything the same, but we've managed to share the caring, which has been great for us.
DEB BARRY: And occasionally we have to hide his face because he gets a bit distracted like children and starts looking around. Is he in a good spot for you to [INAUDIBLE]
DEB BARRY: Because I can turn him a bit if you want. He's being very good. Usually he's looking around by now.
DEB BARRY: Pouch anymore, do you?
- Too big. Hello. So close. Good boy.
- OK, Deb, so who have we got here?
DEB BARRY: So this is Lucky Boy, and he came to us from the APY Lands. He was thrown from his mother's pouch in April, and we've been taking care of him since he arrived.
- And what does day to day care of Lucky Boy involve?
DEB BARRY: Well, he's actually not too bad at the moment. He gets three feeds a day. We feed him at 6:00 AM, about 2 o'clock in the afternoon, and then he gets his last feed at 10 o'clock in the evening. But when he first came he was actually on four-hourly feeds, and that was all through the night too.
- Oh gosh. So that's a lot of work for you.
DEB BARRY: It was, but we didn't mind, obviously. That's why we're here. And yeah, he's been a real treasure. He's not been very hard to look after at all.
- Now, what's going to happen to Lucky Boy in the long term?
DEB BARRY: So Lucky Boy is going back up to the APY Lands, and he's going to be released back into a predator free area. And he's going to be released with another warru from Minato as well.
- Now, World Environment Day, the tagline for this year is Only One Earth. And obviously, Lucky Boy here is very lucky to have been given a chance of survival coming here. But other warrus perhaps aren't doing so well. What's their status?
DEB BARRY: Yeah, so in South Australia they're considered endangered. They were once found in South Australia but have recently become very rare. And so Zoos SA and the Warru Recovery Team are working towards re-establishing them back in the wild.
- So do you know how many they have up at APY Lands at the moment?
DEB BARRY: I actually don't. I might have to look into it for you.
- Yeah, OK. And will Lucky Boy be tracked and monitored when he's released?
DEB BARRY: He will. Yes, he will. He certainly will. So when he goes back, he's going to be released into a small release area so they can assess him and make sure that he's tracking OK. And then when they're happy with how he's doing, they'll release him into a bigger area.
- OK. Now, today is a bit of a first for Lucky Boy.
DEB BARRY: It is.
- This is new for him, isn't it, this area?
DEB BARRY: It sure is. So this is the first time he's been outside. Until now we've kept him in his pouch and just tried to keep him warm, but now he has lovely fur on him we're very happy to bring him outside. And he's doing really well, but he is sticking pretty close too.
- Yes. Now, when he came up here to this exhibit, you were carrying him not just like he is there sat on your lap. What does he have to travel in, Deb?
DEB BARRY: So he is in a little bag. So we have layers and layers of bags to keep him nice and warm because obviously when he first came to us he was only just furred. He only weighed 250 grams. Now he's about 600 grams and much fluffier. So his bag consists of maybe four layers of different materials to try and keep him warm. And because warrus bounce, we actually tie him in his bag so he can't go anywhere on the way up.
- He looks absolutely adorable. You've obviously been doing a great job looking after him.
DEB BARRY: He is doing really well, but he's done it all by himself.
- Cool. Yeah, that sounds great. Sweet. All right, well, we'll see you there. Thank you. Bye.
DEB BARRY: Big scary world.
- He's not so sure now is he?
DEB BARRY: No, he's lost all that confidence.
- He was full of confidence until then.
DEB BARRY: Going to go have a look? No [INAUDIBLE] jumping. Little scaredy cat.
DEB BARRY: Good boy.
- Could hear the crunching.
DEB BARRY: Go down. Come and look. He's got sand all over fine.
- Aw. Come here [INAUDIBLE]