Every morning, Amanda Dukart does her average 25-year-old routine — she brushes her teeth, eats breakfast and gets ready for work.
But recently, Dukart’s daily duties have changed drastically. She now has a little mouth to feed. It’s not her daughter or son but instead, a baby kangaroo.
“It’s quite an adjustment,” Dukart told ABC News today. “It’s like a new baby.”
As a full-time zookeeper and animal trainer at the Chahinkapa Zoo in Wahpeton, N.D., Dukart has become a human mother to Barkly, the 4-month-old kangaroo. Barkly’s mother passed unexpectedly a week ago, leaving her orphaned and still developing.
Baby kangaroos are expected to live in their mother’s pouch for nearly six months. And although Dukart doesn’t have a pouch of her own, she decided to make one.
“It’s a little different than human development, where it happens inside,” Dukart said. “Joeys are very underdeveloped when they’re born.”
Unlike human babies (or most other mammals for that matter), the lungs, bones, sight and hearing are a few of the small areas in which joeys are underdeveloped.
Dukart made a pouch out of fleece. She carries Barkly at her hip all day, every day.
“I’m working full time with a baby,” she said. “I think my cats are starting to feel a little neglected.”
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