After a car accident took its mother earlier this month, an orphaned swamp wallaby joey has been given a second chance, thanks to the care of Taronga Zoo's education coordinator Matt Dea. 

Dea and the little joey. Image: Taronga Zoo

Dea has been hand-raising the female joey for the past two weeks, carrying a makeshift pouch everywhere he goes, and braving 2am wake-up calls for one of five daily bottle feeds.

"Caring for such a young joey is very involved and she hasn’t left my side," he says. "She comes home with me, she comes to the shops and she sleeps beside my desk at work each day."

The joey, who's been named 'Akira', was brought to Taronga Wildlife Hospital last month by a zookeeper who spotted its mother lying beside the road on the way to work ... incredibly, the baby was still alive inside the pouch. "She was a bit stunned, but otherwise healthy with no injuries from the car accident. We were really lucky,” explains Dea.

Since she's just six months old, Akira's diet is restricted to a special milk mixture and the occasional nibble of grass, but she’ll gradually be introduced to solid foods. She’ll also start to step out of her replacement pouch (Dea's canvas backpack) in four to six weeks.

"She’ll be a little wobbly on her feet at first, but she’ll soon be hopping in and out as she becomes more adventurous," he says, adding that Akira's story should serve as a reminder for motorists to watch out for wildlife on the roads.

Image: Taronga Zoo
Images: Taronga Zoo
Image: Taronga Zoo
Image: Taronga Zoo