MELBOURNE, Fla. -- A young kangaroo is ready to join the other members of her species at the Brevard Zoo after five months of round-the-clock care.
Lilly was born in August 2016 and was found on the floor of the Zoo's kangaroo habitat on January 23. Zoo officials say stress caused by a severe storm the previous evening likely caused Lilly's mother to eject the joey from the pouch.
After several failed attempts at reuniting the two, staff decided to raise the tiny kangaroo themselves.
“I took her home every single evening and brought her with me wherever I went,” said the Zoo's collection manager and Lilly's primary caretaker Lauren Hinson, who estimates she conducted 1,000 bottle feedings. “It was an incredible amount of work and a lot of missed sleep, but well worth it.”
Zoo staff say Lilly has been taking supervised "field trips" to the kangaroo yard since May, but just this week she was allowed to stay there permanently.
Caretakers will monitor Lilly in the new space and continue to bottle-feed her twice a day for the next several months.