26 de agosto de 2019
Hispanic World

Khya, a baby kangaroo being raised by humans in western Mexican city

By Mariana Gonzalez

By Mariana Gonzalez

Guadalajara, Mexico, Jul 14 (efe-epa).- Khya, an eight-month-old red kangaroo, is being raised by humans inside an artificial pouch at the Guadalajara Zoo in western Mexico after her mother died of heart problems three months ago.

Veterinarian Alma Ortega has been Khya's "substitute mother" for the past 10 weeks, a task that has taken up about 12 hours each day and means carrying the young 'roo around in a sack to make her feel safe and protected.

"There are two things that represent safety to her: Her pouch and me. So she can be with me but outside her pouch, but if I put her into (a pouch) and she's afraid it doesn't matter who's with her. What she needs is the protection of her first skin," namely that artificial sack that has replaced her mother's pouch, said the director of the zoo's "Australian Village."

Ania, Khya's mother, died suddenly in captivity in May. A few days before her death, she stopped caring for her "joey" - as baby kangaroos are called - and went away to die alone in one of the zoo areas where she lived with other kangaroos.

Veterinarians at the facility took over feeding and caring for Khya to make sure she develops as normally as possible. Without that care, she would have died or had growth problems, since female kangaroos never adopt babies that are not their own, Ortega said.

"There are very loving mothers, but it's not that way with other babies. The mother kangaroo always has a baby, in her two uteruses, in her pouch and on the outside and that makes it difficult for a mother to adopt another baby, even if a kangaroo by mistake gets into the wrong pouch. That mother's going to react aggressively and will swat it, and even bite it to get it to go away," she said.

Ortega began acting as Khya's mother from the very first. She plays with her, pampers her, caresses her, encourages her to jump, to interact with the other kangaroos, she stays close to her and, above all, is her protector when the little 'roo feels insecure, nervous or wants to sleep.

When the joey became an orphan she was five-and-a-half months old, the equivalent of a six-month-old human baby who has to be taught how to do everything. Being left without a mother midway through her rearing left Khya feeling insecure and vulnerable, and so the zoo vets consider her to be almost a premature baby.

So, when Khya jumps farther than before, or lets the other baby kangaroos approach her or urinates on her own, her human mother hails the event as if it were her own achievement.

She sees to whatever the baby needs, always has the pouch with her for Khya to crawl into and holds her in her arms. If the joey is afraid, Ortega knows that she must hug her just like a kangaroo mother would do.

Besides following the instructions in a kangaroo-raising manual, Ortega has learned from the other kangaroo mothers in the Australian Village how they look after their own babies and "educate" them, applying those same techniques to Khya.

"It means a lot of sacrifice because it takes up all your time and all your thinking. (Her routine) is very changeable and there's always something new, sometimes big advances, sometimes small ones. Raising her is a day-by-day process, and we can't lose hope. We can't pretend that she'll grow up like a kangaroo with her (real) mother," she said.

Although Khya and Ortega have bonded, the vet knows that there will come a time in a few weeks when her ward will leave her side and become independent, and then Khya will interact virtually exclusively with the other kangaroos and will sleep on the ground with them rather than in the artificial pouch.

"She already doesn't fit into her pouch, but she keeps trying to get in, she's going to be feeling so uncomfortable (soon) that she's going to be forced to be on the ground. She's not there yet, but she's already spending lots of time with her fellow kangaroos. She's doing it because we're her protection, but instinct is instinct and she's going to figure out how to be a kangaroo," Ortega said.

Histórico de noticias
McIlroy pockets $15 million in Tour Championship win

Atlanta, Aug 25 (efe-epa).- Rory McIlroy pulled out the combination he needed on Sunday at Atlanta's East Lake Golf Club to win the Tour Championship's...

US, Japan finalize talks on new trade pact

Biarritz, France, Aug 25 (efe-epa).- The United States and Japan finalized negotiations on a new trade agreement that will enable Washington to increase its...

Morales accepts int'l help to put out wildfires in Bolivia

La Paz, Aug 25 (efe-epa).- Bolivian President Evo Morales said Sunday that any international help to put out the wildfires in the country's eastern...

Pope calls for commitment to save Amazon

Sao Paulo, Aug 25 (efe-epa).- Amazonas on Sunday became the seventh state in Brazil to request assistance from the armed forces in fighting the fires...

Blind artisan creates intricate works with his hands in southern Mexico

By Jose de Jesus Cortes

Supreme Court justice known as Trump critic treated for cancer

Washington, Aug 23 (efe-epa).- Progressive US Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 86, has undergone radiation for a malignant tumor of the pancreas,...

Ex-Democratic lawmaker predicts young Latinos will unseat Trump

Chicago, Aug 23 (efe-epa).- Former Democratic lawmaker Luis Gutierrez predicts that a peaceful revolution of young Hispanic voters, supported by other...

Mexican president: Legal sabotage being mounted against new airport

Mexico City, Aug 22 (efe-epa).- Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador on Thursday complained that the political opposition has been engaging in...

Mexican human rights commission condemns attacks on journalist

Mexico City, Aug 22 (efe-epa).- Mexico's National Commission on Human Rights (CNDH) on Thursday condemned the attacks by "individuals and authorities" on...

Brazil's president doubles down on criticism of NGOs operating in Amazon

Brasilia, Aug 22 (efe-epa).- President Jair Bolsonaro said Thursday that while he did not have evidence that non-governmental organizations were behind the...

Buenos Aires street museum once again shines with original intensity

By Carmen Herranz

Cuba relying on bacteria to end dengue epidemic

Havana, Aug 21 (efe-epa).- The dengue epidemic in several Latin American countries is also affecting - albeit to a lesser degree - Cuba, where experts are...

Trump seeks to halt family migration by extending child detentions

By Laura Barros

Children's chorus revitalizing indigenous language in Panamanian capital

By Maria M. Mur

Brazil's president points finger at NGOs in Amazon fires

Brasilia, Aug 21 (efe-epa).- President Jair Bolsonaro insinuated on Wednesday that non-governmental organizations may be behind the fires in the Amazon, the...

US Space Command to formally begin operations next week

Washington, Aug 20 (efe-epa).- The United States on Aug. 29 will launch its previously announced Space Command, which will initially have just 87 people...

Trump: US in contact with Venezuela's Maduro gov't at highest level

Washington, Aug 20 (efe-epa).- President Donald Trump said Tuesday that his administration is in contact with Venezuela's Nicolas Maduro government "at a...

2 former Major League ballplayers accused of drug trafficking in D.R.

Santo Domingo, Aug 20 (efe-epa).- Authorities have dismantled a large drug trafficking ring in the Dominican Republic whose members included former Major...

Son of immigrants travels US delivering crosses for shooting victims

By Jorge Mederos

Stabilizing peso is priority, Argentina's new finance minister says

Buenos Aires, Aug 20 (efe-epa).- New Finance Minister Hernan Lacunza said Tuesday that his main goal would be shoring up the Argentine peso, which has...

Police sharpshooter kills man who hijacked bus in Brazil

Rio de Janeiro, Aug 20 (efe-epa).- A police sharpshooter killed the man who hijacked a bus and had taken the driver and several passengers hostage on...

Twitter: China has mounted campaign to delegitimize Hong Kong protests

San Francisco, Aug 19 (efe-epa).- Twitter on Monday said that it had uncovered a coordinated effort by 936 accounts originating in China to delegitimize the...

El Salvador woman pardoned after manslaughter conviction for abortion

Ciudad Delgado, El Salvador, Aug 19 (efe-epa).- A court in El Salvador pardoned Evelyn Hernandez, 21, this Monday of the crime of aggravated manslaughter...

Bardem: If 30 pct. of oceans not protected in 2030, damage to be irreversible

By Alvaro Celorio