By Charlotte Regen
An adorable baby kangaroo has melted 25 million hearts the world over with his shy attempt to take his first hop.
The touching footage shows orphaned six-month-old joey Bradley bouncing timidly towards Chris ‘Brolga’ Barns, the carer he has imprinted on at The Kangaroo Sanctuary in Alice Springs.
Kangaroo expert Brolga, 44, saves joeys whose mothers have been killed and has spent the last four weeks carrying Bradley around in a fabric pouch after the plucky marsupial’s mother was hit by a car in the Northern Territory.
His wife Tahnee Passmore-Barns, who helps run the sanctuary, said Bradley is allowed out of his pouch to jump around the couple’s home for a few minutes each day to build his strength.
Tahnee said: “At Bradley’s age ordinarily he would still mainly live in his mum’s pouch, and would come out just for a couple of minutes each day.
“We allow him to hop around the house and outside to help him get stronger, and then he goes back in the pouch.
“Bradley has imprinted on Brolga, and what Brolga is doing in the video is what the mother would do in the wild – stepping a little bit further away each time, so the joey has to bounce over.
“Bradley looks shy in this video, but he has actually always been quite a personality – from ever since we first got him he was looking around and has been really affectionate and outgoing.
“We have seen hundreds of joeys learn to hop over the gears but it is still just absolutely gorgeous and melts your heart every time.”
Tahnee and Brolga, who is star of BBC documentary Kangaroo Dundee, adopted Bradley about six weeks ago after his mum was hit by a car in central Australia at night.
Chris began running the rescue centre 12 years ago and opened the sanctuary in 2010 but has been rescuing kangaroos and joeys for the past two decades.
Animals are rescued, rehabilitated and released back into the wild if they can do or if not are left to roam the 188-acre sanctuary.
There are currently 50 kangaroos at the centre including adults up to 12 years old.
Since the video of Bradley’s endearing hopping practice was uploaded to social media, it has racked up more than 25 million views.