WAHPETON, N.D., March 9 (UPI) — A North Dakota zookeeper says she has a new appreciation for working moms after adopting an orphaned baby kangaroo that will spend six months in her makeshift pouch.
Amanda Dukart, 25, a zookeeper and animal trainer at the Chahinkapa Zoo in Wahpeton, said she was drafted to take care of Barkly, a 4-month-old joey orphaned when her mother died unexpectedly about a week ago.
Dukart said Barkly will spend the next six months in the artificial flannel and polar fleece pouch that was custom-fitted for the keeper to wear on her hip.
“It’s quite an adjustment,” Dukart told ABC News. “It’s like a new baby.”
Dukart said kangaroos, like many marsupials, are born under-developed and spend their first 10 months finishing their development in their mothers’ pouches.
“It’s a little different than human development, where it happens inside,” Dukart said. “Joeys are very underdeveloped when they’re born.”
Dukart said the baby kangaroo requires round-the-clock attention.
“I’m working all the time, but I still have a baby to take care of … I can sympathize with working moms now,” she told WDAY-TV. “Every day is something different. And she’s getting personality. It’s just really fun. It’s a really cool experience.”