NewsDepth Petting Zoo: Baby 'Roo Gets a New Mom
Staff at the Chahinkapa Zoo in North Dakota are going leaps and bounds beyond their normal duties. One keeper is stepping in as an around-the-clock mother to an orphaned kangaroo. Catherine Ross reports.
--REPORTER PKG-AS FOLLOWS-- (nats) "Hi ladies." THE ROOS EXPECT A SPECIAL TREAT. "Good boy ? look at you." NOW DUKART IS HOPPING INTO A NEW ROLE WITH THE AUSSIE BUNCH'S NEWEST ADDITION. "It's not the norm probably." MEET BARKLEY. THE JOEY'S MOTHER DIED UNEXPECTEDLY SEVERAL WEEKS AGO. NOW -- DUKART IS TAKING THE ORPHAN INTO HER POUCH. (Amanda Dukart/ Zoo Keeper) "At 3 o'clock, I got a call saying, 'Come down and grab your baby.' So that's when I became a mom." THE NEW MOM WEARS A HANDMADE FLANNEL POUCH AND SLING -- CUSTOM-FITTED BY ANOTHER STAFFER. "Most of the development actually happens inside the pouch, whereas a lot of our development happens inside the womb." FOR THE NEXT 6 MONTHS, THE DEVELOPING JOEY WILL ESSENTIALLY BE ATTACHED AT THE HIP TO DUKART... (nats) ...SWADDLED CLOSELY DURING DAILY DUTIES. "I'm working all the time, but I still have a baby to take care of? I can sympathize with working moms now." AND THE FIRST-TIMER IS BONDING WITH HER ADOPTIVE BABY LIKE A REAL MOTHER, TOO. "Everyday is something different. And she's getting personality. It's just really fun. It's a really cool experience." Reporter Standup: Barkley should be able to leave the pouch at about 10 months old? and by 18 months, she should be able to join the other kangaroos. IT'S A CRITICAL TIME FOR THE JOEY. AT THIS STAGE -- SHE HAS JUST A 1 IN 4 SHOT AT SURVIVAL. AND STAFF ARE HOPING FOR A HOPPY ENDING. "We're really hoping she survives. So we're trying our best and it's a learning experience for us as well."