This Mother’s Day we’re celebrating the amazing keepers who step up and become parents to our animals

There’s certainly no shortage of amazing mothers at Adelaide Zoo and our sister site, Monarto Safari Park.

From Husani patiently raising her rollicking African Lion cubs to otter mum Kalaya welcoming three new pups to the family, there’s plenty of motherly love on display across both our sites.

Adelaide Zoo hand raised Gibs bilby
Gibs the Greater Bilby was hand raised at Adelaide Zoo

But today we’re celebrating a different kind of maternal instinct… the unwavering love and care shown by the dedicated keepers who have the important job of hand raising animals.

Whether it’s a native animal who has been found abandoned or injured or a baby who was sadly rejected by their mum, zoo keepers are no stranger to stepping up and becoming a parent to the animals in their care.

Adelaide Zoo hand raised magpie
Magnus the Magpie with Keeper Chad

Keepers at Adelaide Zoo have recently raised a number of adorable animal bubs including Ring-tailed Possums, Greater Bilbies, kangaroo joeys brought in after their mothers were sadly hit by cars, stunning Barking Owls and a special hand raised Magpie called Magnus.

But while it might seem like a whole lot of fun looking after such sweet babies, playing mum to a very young and vulnerable animal is actually an incredibly important and often tiring job.

Many species require feeding every few hours, as well as regular grooming and encouragement to go to the toilet.

Keepers also constantly monitor the tots to make sure they’re growing well and displaying behaviours normal for their species and age, as well as introducing them to training programs to make sure they’re comfortable with any contact they will have with keepers and vets in the future.

At Zoos SA, our keepers try to be as hands-off as possible as the little ones grow up, preferring to leave the tots with their mums or social groups to grow up within their species.

Adelaide Zoo hand raised emu Cecil
Cecil the hand-raised Emu cuddling keeper Di
Adelaide Zoo Ring-tailed Possum Navi hand raised
Ring-tailed Possum Navi was hand raised by keeper Amelia after being abandoned by her mum

However, nature can be tough and sometimes our team need to intervene to make sure our animals have the best possible start to their lives.

As a conservation charity that exists to save species from extinction, we’re here for animals great and small, even if that means picking up a bottle and playing mum.


The day is here!Monarto Safari Park’s new Visitor Centre is open to the public from 9.30am. #thewildiscalling

About Zoos SA

Zoos SA is a not-for-profit conservation charity that exists to connect people with nature and save species from extinction.

Zoos SA acknowledges the Country on which we stand always was, and always will be, Aboriginal land and we pay our deepest respect and gratitude to Kaurna (Adelaide Zoo) and Ngarrindjeri (Monarto Safari Park) Elders, past, present and emerging.

We undertake critical conservation work throughout Australia and acknowledge the traditional custodians of these lands.


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