An Unlikely Surrogate For Baby Glider At Taronga Zoo

After her mother was injured, a vet nurse at Taronga stepped in to care for the young yellow belly glider.

The 10-week-old glider arrived at Taronga Wildlife Hospital after her mother found herself entangled in a barbed wire fence. While the mother’s injuries were quite severe, the joey remained unharmed inside her mothers pouch.

Unfortunately, the joey’s mother sustained injuries that affected her ability to produce milk, meaning the joey needs a new way of feeding in order to survive.

This is where vet nurse, Felicity Evans, stepped in to take the role of surrogate.

While mum is receiving treatment for her injuries, Felicity is providing the joey with around the clock care. Her duties include feeding the joey six times a day (even during the night) and cleaning up after the messy eater.

Felicity says, “She’ll grab hold of the spoon and pull it down so she ends up with milk all over her paws and stomach. I have to carefully clean her fur afterwards and wipe off her little milk moustache”.

[Photo by Paul Fahy]

Felicity is a great mum; her dedicated care has seen the joey almost double her weight in only two weeks.

The joey is yet to be named, but keepers have already fallen in love with both her and her mother. “She’s got a big personality for such a tiny animal”, says Felicity.

When the mother glider got herself entangled she ripped her gliding membrane, meaning her survival in the wild would be unlikely. Luckily for her, keepers at Taronga will be providing her with the best care available and she will live on to become an important ambassador for her vulnerable species at the zoo.

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