Meet Makaia, he’s one very special Goodfellow’s Tree Kangaroo. Makaia was born in September 2014 and named after his father and mother – Makali and Kia.
When he was only five weeks old, he lost his mum. He needed a nice warm pouch to grow big and strong in, so Adelaide Zoo tried something that had never been done before… a Yellow-foot Rock-wallaby was found to be his surrogate mum. Up until now this special breeding technique, known as ‘cross-fostering’, has only been done with closely related wallaby species.
Our beautiful Yellow-footed Rock-wallaby Missy Fitton was chosen for this mammoth task, and her pouch grew and grew before our eyes. Then one special day, we saw this amazing sight…
Missy Fitton has done a stellar job, but the joey was getting too big for her pouch, so Adelaide Zoo Team Leader of Natives, Gayl Males, took over caring for him and in effect became his third mum. Makaia is certainly a cheeky little fellow and loves running amok, testing the boundaries and using Gayl’s home as his personal playground.
Makaia is the result of our hard work and the expertise of our stellar staff, without their expertise this story might have had a very different ending.
Makaia is very genetically valuable to the region and in July 2016, he moved to Singapore Zoo to join the international breeding program for this special species.
Adelaide Zoo will share its findings with other zoos around the world to help guide breeding efforts for endangered tree kangaroo species and increase the success of internationally coordinated captive-breeding programs.