All-round care for a brush-tailed rock kangaroo in Australia: Animal rights activists from the organization Aussie Ark have discovered the cute but completely helpless orphan in their sanctuary and are now raising the only five and a half month old Rocket by hand. “Our operations manager, Dean Reid, has raised many species including koalas and Tasmanian devils, but this is the first time he’s fathered a brush-tailed rock kangaroo,” Aussie Ark said Thursday.

“Because Rocket’s species is on the brink of extinction, this is a very important task,” Reid said. “Every individual counts.” Normally at this age, rock kangaroos would begin the transition from pouch to walking, relying on the mother for milk and protection. The replacement dad takes over. Among other things, Rocket is fed six times a day and weighed regularly. When he is old enough, he should be released into the wild.

Last year, Aussie Ark used camera traps to spot a group of the rare and elusive marsupials at the Mongo Valley Wildlife Sanctuary in north-east New South Wales. According to the Aussie Ark, there are fewer than 30,000 specimens in the wild. Brush-tailed rock kangaroos (Petrogale penicillata) grow up to 60 centimeters in length, have a long tail and are reddish-brown in colour. The muscular animals are agile, mostly nocturnal and very afraid of humans.