- Associated Press - Saturday, June 28, 2014

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - When Randy Scheer met Liv that cold April morning, he thought she was dead.

The 4-month-old joey was gray, cold and lifeless.

“It was like someone put an ice cube in my hand,” Scheer told the Lincoln Journal Star (https://bit.ly/1rDtAI5). “That’s how cold she was.”

And then Scheer saw the baby wallaby take a breath. One, big breath.

The breath blew hope into Scheer, who quickly acted to try to save Liv’s life. Slowly, in an infant incubator with a heating pad, hot water bottle and oxygen, Liv turned from gray to pink, her breathing improved and she began to shake.

Twenty minutes later, Liv was back to normal. “She went from what looked like dead, to shaking, to just looking up at us going, ‘What’s up guys?”

The tammar wallaby is now 7 months old.

Zookeepers at Lincoln Children’s Zoo aren’t sure exactly how she did it, but Liv fell out of her mother’s pouch twice soon after she was born. A zookeeper found her on the ground during morning checks in April.

She’s too young to join the zoo’s wallaby population, so zookeepers are taking care of her, carrying her in a custom-made pouch.

Taylor Daniels, 24, is one of the three who look after Liv, who sucks on her toes or sleeps in the pouch while Taylor works.

Daniels and the other keepers used to have to spend nights at the Zoo, feeding Liv eight times a day. The number of feedings is down to four a day, and she goes home with one of them at night.

Daniels has “wallaby-proofed” her apartment, making sure there aren’t too many things on the floor and keeping Liv in a Pack ‘N Play filled with pillows and blankets.

“We do everything together, really,” said Daniels. “We eat dinner together, we get ready together in the morning, I’ll put her in her pouch and we’ll watch TV together.”

CEO/President John Chapo said zoo staff has hand-raised red pandas, a Bennett’s wallaby, various species of birds and a bobcat. He said Liv will get 24-hour care for a couple more months.

Daniels isn’t complaining about keeping watch on Liv for a little longer.

“The overtime is worth it,” she said. “And seeing Liv throughout all stages of her life and getting to know her personality, how she sucks on her toes and how curious she is, that’s been great.”

Zoo visitors will be able to see Liv in early July, when she will begin making appearances on the Animal Encounter Stage.

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Information from: Lincoln Journal Star, https://www.journalstar.com

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