Kangaroo birth has Edinburgh Zoo visitors jumping for joy
Visitors to Edinburgh Zoo can now catch a glimpse of Scotland’s only western grey kangaroo joey just ahead of Mother’s Day.
The first ever joey to be born at the zoo arrived in early December and has recently started to peek out of mum Mia’s pouch.
Lorna Hughes, Team Leader at the Edinburgh Zoo said: “This is the first kangaroo birth we’ve had at the Zoo so we are delighted.
“Kangaroos are marsupials, which means their young spend time developing in their mother’s pouch before becoming more independent. Our joey is now a few weeks old and has started to peek out of the pouch, which is really exciting.
“It won’t be long before the joey fully emerges and starts bouncing around the enclosure, which is when we will find out if we have a little boy or girl and decide on a name.”
The joey joins other important species from Australia in our care such as the UK’s only koalas, a mob of wallabies and a pair of cassowaries.
The western grey kangaroo is one of the largest and most common of all kangaroos. Indigenous to Australia their wide distribution and large population mean that the species is not currently thought to be at risk of extinction.
While classed as of Least Concern on the IUCN Red List the species is protected under Australia law and hunting is not permitted within protected areas.
Edinburgh Zoo is set in 82 acres of sloping hillside, just a stone’s throw away from Edinburgh’s bustling city centre.
In its 105-year history the Zoo has been home to many famous animal residents, more recently the UK’s only giant pandas, Tian Tian and Yang Guang, and the UK’s only koalas.
Edinburgh Zoo is run by the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland which was founded by visionary lawyer Thomas Gillespie, in 1909 ‘to promote, facilitate and encourage the study of zoology and kindred subjects and to foster and develop among the people an interest in and knowledge of animal life’.
The Society still exists to connect people with nature and safeguard species from extinction.