TOBE, Japan >> A baby red kangaroo is growing up nicely in a zookeeper’s backpack at the Tobe Zoological Park of Ehime Prefecture after falling out of his mother’s pouch. The male joey, who broke his right leg and suffered from hypothermia, was named Jump in the hope that he would make a quick and full recovery.
The zoo, which takes care of 20 red kangaroos, usually counts a kangaroo’s birthday as the first day it peeks out from its mother’s pouch. But Jump’s birthday, March 29, is the day he was found outside his mom’s pouch.
A joey typically spends about six months after birth in its mother’s pouch. However, placing Jump back into the pouch proved extremely difficult, so zookeeper Yosuke Yamasaki sewed a backpack by hand to hold the youngster, and he’s caring for the kangaroo full time. During the day, Yamasaki goes about his regular duties, such as outdoor cleaning, while carrying Jump on his back. The two return to his home by car after work, where Yamasaki feeds him milk every three hours. He’s essentially acted as Jump’s mother day and night since April 1.
Jump initially weighed 2-1/3 pounds and has gained about 1-1/2 pounds in roughly two months. He is a healthy kangaroo.
“There are still days when I can barely sleep, but I love Jump and look forward to seeing him grow up,” Yamasaki said.
On May 28, Jump popped his face out from the backpack, unexpectedly delighting nearby zoo visitors who were charmed by his cuteness. Yamasaki said lucky visitors can meet Jump by the kangaroo house.