What exactly is a wallaroo?
That’s what we asked ourselves shortly after we were notified about this adorable orphaned creature who is currently being raised by zookeepers at the Oakland Zoo in California.
The male joey — who, as the zoo so helpfully explained, is the mid-sized macropod species in between the wallaby (smallest) and kangaroo (largest) — is approximately 5-months-old and receiving round-the-clock care from keepers after his mother, Maloo, died suddenly of an infection.
A sign that something was amiss with mom came on March 1, when she removed the joey from her pouch. After an exam, Maloo was treated with antibiotics for an infection, but sadly, died the following day.
“While staff is very sad about the passing of Maloo, we are working with other AZA facilities to be best prepared for the intense care required to successfully hand-raise a wallaroo,” said Andrea Dougall, assistant zoological manager at Oakland Zoo. “We are keen to get to know the little joey and prepare him for life with the rest of the mob.”
As you can see from the video their hands are full with this as-yet-unnamed joey, who is being bottle-fed seven times per day with Wombaroo (another word that bears explaining and repeating over and over because it’s fun to say: it’s a high-grade Australian formula!).
The cute little guy spends his time inside a makeshift pouch in a temperature-controlled room and is being given water twice per day for hydration, the zoo says. Getting outside is also important, so they’re taking the joey — who is said to be doing very well — outside for sun twice per day.
This intense care will continue for the next three months or so, until he’s more independent. By then, the cute wallaroo will have a name.
“Zookeepers are working on a name for him now,” a spokesperson tells PEOPLE. “They love to think of names and want to find the perfect one, so sometimes it takes a couple weeks.”