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Bristol hospital staff name Bristol Zoo’s kangaroo joey

Last updated: 26/06/2020


Staff at the Bristol Royal Infirmary have chosen a name for Bristol Zoo Gardens’ newest arrival – a tree kangaroo joey.

Doctors, nurses, consultants and other staff working in the accident and emergency department chose the name Kiri for the youngster, which means ‘laugh’ in the species’ native country, Papua New Guinea.  

The juvenile recently popped its head out of the pouch for the first time and is expected to start venturing out of its mother’s pouch in the coming weeks.

The birth of the tiny Goodfellow’s tree kangaroo is a huge boost for the captive breeding programme for this Endangered species.

It is the first time the Zoo has bred the species and is one of only two tree kangaroo joeys to have been bred successfully in captivity in the UK during the past 12 months.

The young joey is also genetically important as his dad, Mian, joined Bristol Zoo from Perth in Australia, so he and the youngster bring new genes for the European breeding programme for the species.

Bristol Zoo’s Mammal Team Leader, Alan Toyne, said: “We are delighted that the A&E staff at the BRI agreed to choose the name of our joey and Kiri is a lovely choice.

“The joey continues to do really well, getting bigger, stronger and more inquisitive. It won’t be long before he starts leaving the safety of mum’s pouch and exploring by himself.

“Next month he will start eating solid food but he won’t be fully weaned until the end of the year.”

Andy Lockyer, emergency department consultant at the Bristol Royal Infirmary, said: “It’s an incredibly kind and thoughtful gesture from our friends at Bristol Zoo to allow us to name & adopt Kiri.

“I know that our team work very hard and often in challenging circumstances at the best of times, but recently they’ve had constantly adapt to complex and rapidly changing ways of working in stressful circumstances, and I can safely say everyone was delighted to hear some happy and positive news and such a heart-warming story.

“Many of the A&E team are members and supporters of the Zoo and Wild Place Project, so we look forward to visiting Kiri as soon as we get the chance and it’s lovely having a link with such a respected and popular local organisation. 

“We wish everyone working at Bristol Zoo all the best during such a challenging time for them as a charity, and look forward to supporting them in return as soon as we get the chance.”

Tree kangaroos are found in the tropical rainforests of Papua New Guinea, where they have adapted to life in the trees. They can bound as far as nine metres to a neighbouring tree and can leap down to the ground from as high as 18 metres.

But many of the areas where they used to live have been lost to logging or timber production or used to grow wheat, rice and coffee plants. This loss of habitat can also leave tree kangaroos prey to domestic dogs.

They are also at risk of the expansion of non-sustainable palm oil plantations, which converts forests into plantations to produce palm oil.

Bristol Zoological Society has recently launched an appeal to ensure the future of its work saving wildlife. Its aim is to safeguard Bristol Zoo Gardens, Wild Place Project and conservation projects in 10 countries across the world.

The society, which is a registered charity, has launched the BZS Appeal following the temporary closure of both its sites in Bristol in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic.

To find out more, or make a donation, visit https://bristolzoo.org.uk/bzsappeal