Baby kangaroo being raised in zookeeper’s backpack in Ehime Prefecture

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Yosuke Yamasaki happily gazes at Jump, a red kangaroo, in his backpack at the Tobe Zoological Park of Ehime Prefecture in Tobe.

TOBE, Ehime — A male baby red kangaroo is growing up nicely in a zookeeper’s backpack at the Tobe Zoological Park of Ehime Prefecture in Tobe after falling out of his mother’s pouch. He was named Jump, in the hope that he will quickly make a full recovery after breaking his right leg and suffering from hypothermia.

The zoo, which takes care of 20 red kangaroos, usually observes a kangaroo’s birthday as the day it first peeks out from its pouch. But Jump’s birthday is March 29, the day he was found outside his pouch.

Kangaroos typically spend about six months in their mother’s pouch after birth. However, putting Jump back into the pouch was extremely difficult, so zookeeper Yosuke Yamasaki, 41, made a backpack by hand to hold the youngling. During the day, Yamasaki goes about his regular work duties, such as outdoor cleaning, while carrying Jump on his back. The two return to his home by car after work. Yamasaki feeds him milk every three hours, essentially acting as Jump’s mother day and night since April 1.

Jump initially weighed 1,040 grams, but has gained about 700 grams in roughly two months and is in good health. “There are still days when I can barely sleep, but I love Jump and look forward to seeing him grow up,” Yamasaki said.

On May 28, Jump popped his face out from the backpack, unexpectedly delighting nearby zoo visitors. They smiled and remarked on his cuteness. Yamasaki said lucky visitors can meet Jump in front of the kangaroo house.