Taronga Zoo in Sydney, Australia, is hand-raising a baby wombat who was recently orphaned, keeping him warm in a beanie hat.
The wombat, a male named Waru, was born in February and lost his mother aged three months due to a rare fungal infection.
Keepers explained that they are hand-raising the southern hairy-nosed wombat as his only chance of survival, because at this age joeys are still developing in the pouch, which acts as an external womb.
Posting a video of the wombat joey to Facebook, Taronga Zoo said: “Our little wombat joey Waru has officially stolen our hearts!”
Keeper Suzie McNamara said: “He requires 24/7 care and is bottle fed every four hours. He goes wherever we go, to work, to home and even to the shops.
“Waru is already starting to portray quite a feisty personality, he likes to investigate new things, and often enjoys a good scratch when he emerges from his pouch for playtime each day.”
Infants of the species are born around 22 days after mating, and then continue to grow inside their mother’s pouches until they fully emerge at around eight to ten months old.
Keepers hope that the successful breeding of the species will help them develop a method for breeding the critically endangered northern hairy-nosed wombat, of which there are only around 250 left in the wild.
- Press Association