An Australian cyclist captured the heartbreaking moment when a baby rock wallaby tries to climb into its dead mother’s pouch in a video (below), after she was hit by a car.
Chris Rishworth was riding his bike on Magnetic Island, in North Queensland, Australia, when he heard a chirping sound, according to the video description. Rishworth initially thought it was a small bird, but he then spotted the helpless joey trying to suckle its dead mother.
In the video posted on July 24, Rishworth approaches the mother, who appears to have been hit by a car and lies dead next to a bush. Covered in ants and flies, she has already begun to decompose. The desperate, tiny joey attempts to climb into its mother’s pouch and suckle from her nipple. Rishworth picks up the frightened and confused rock wallaby.
“We’re going to have to take him to town, see what we can do,” the cyclist says.
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Rock wallabies are almost extinct in Australia, as feral predators and land clearing often kills them, notes the Daily Mail.
When mothers die, it is common to find their joeys attached to the teat. Unfortunately, this can damage the baby’s mouth, so it is best to promptly remove the baby from the mother. According to experts, it is crucial to keep the young rock wallaby warm and take it to a professional as soon as possible, as joeys can easily die from stress.
Fortunately, in the video, Rishworth is able to bring the bay marsupial to Wallaby Refuge on Magnetic Island, a nearby wildlife rescue, where it appears that staff will take excellent care of the joey.
“There’s joey,” he says, while somebody cradles the wallaby, adding that it is “going to be fine, everybody.”
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The baby wallaby is doing fine and is expected to make a full recovery. When the marsupial grows up, the rescue will release it back into the wild, Rishworth writes in the video description.