Zoo staff practising knitting under the watchful eyes of a resident Wallaby.

The Isle of Wight Zoo’s hosting a Knit and Natter Day – for us to make surrogate Joey pouches for infants that have lost their mothers in the Australian bushfires.

Over one billion animals have been killed by the fires, leaving an overwhelming number of young marsupials without their mother’s pouch – which is needed for them to grow.

Animal rescue organisations are relying on hand-crafted substitutes for all kinds of orphans which include wallabies, kangaroos, koalas, opossums and wombats.

Other injured animals such as flying foxes can also use them for recovery.

Zoo staff knitting

Zookeeper Kerry who looks after the zoo’s family of 5 wallabies, said,

“We’ve all been stunned by Australia’s plight and the devastation of so much wildlife

“It’s very easy to feel overwhelmed and powerless to help from here on the island but when we heard the call for knitted pouches we just had to get staff and public involved.

It’s such a practical and simple way to make a real difference.”

The Knit and Natter session will take place from 10am this Saturday (18) in the Zoo’s Wildheart Café overlooking Sandown seafront – with free car parking on site.

Those that prefer sewing to knitting are also welcome to come along with their machines.

The zoo is also accepting donations of 8-ply wool that will be distributed to volunteers

Anyone who cannot attend can hand in or post donor pouches to the zoo, which is also operating as a collection and dispatch hub for the Animal Rescue Craft Guild.

The pouch pattern can be found here: https://www.facebook.com/arfsncrafts/

There is also a Go Fund Me page accepting donations at: https://tinyurl.com/ttfjmo4