Baby Barney has been enjoying visits to Wallaby Walkthrough as ‘mum’ Senior Keeper Laura Robbins prepares for his permanent return to the zoo.
Our hand reared six-month-old Bennett’s wallaby was taken in by Laura after his mum died suddenly while still nursing him in her pouch.
Since then she’s been providing round-the-clock care for the joey and is now starting the next phase of his care by reintroducing him to the rest of his troupe on site, including dad, Rocky.
Laura said: “Barney’s doing so well. He’s almost doubled in size since I first had him at the beginning of August and he’s also now toilet trained too.
“I’ve started to take him into the enclosure so he can meet the other wallabies and start observing their behaviour, as well as getting used to the new surroundings and smells.
“The initial meeting was really positive. The other older wallabies were immediately intrigued and hopped straight over to him and dad followed him for a sniff but Barney was really confident and wasn’t fazed at all, so it couldn’t have gone better.”
The joey is currently based in the zoo offices while Laura is at work, while the rest of the time is spent at home with the experienced keeper and her young family.
As Barney is gaining steady weight, Laura plans to begin dropping bottle feeds and introducing him to more solid food as she continues preparing him for his return to site in a few months’ time.