BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. - The Brevard Zoo on Tuesday celebrated the first birthday of Lilly, a red kangaroo joey that it rescued earlier this year.
The zoo marked the special occasion with a kangaroo-friendly cake made of sweet potato, corn, lettuce and spinach.
Keepers in January discovered Lilly abandoned on the floor of the zoo’s kangaroo habitat.
Joeys, which are about the size of a jelly bean at birth, typically remain in their mother's pouch for the first few months of life. Keepers chose to raise Lilly by hand after several unsuccessful attempts to reunite her with her mother.
Zoo officials said that at first they were cautiously optimistic about Lilly's chances of survival, but they grew more confident as she achieved promising milestones.
Lilly was ultimately reunited with the zoo's kangaroo mob in late June after several months of care, including more than 1,000 bottle feedings.
“Lilly is a testament to the commitment we make to every single animal in our care," said Michelle Smurl, the zoo’s director of animal programs. “Getting her to where she is today took an incredible amount of work, but it was worth every minute.”
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