These are the adorable opossum joeys “adopted” by a dog after they were orphaned due to forest fires.
In the footage filmed by biology student Talita Peixoto and shared with Newsflash, the miniature marsupials can be seen clinging to her pet dog’s back, as if she were their mother.
The seven joeys were rescued over a month ago following forest fires in the municipality of Monte Alto, in the south-eastern Brazilian state of Sao Paulo, by Talita’s friend, Samuel Maria.
Samuel has provided aid to over 40 animals affected by fires and drought over the last two months. The environmentalist has carried out at least 315 animal rescues so far this year, which is more than the 298 rescues he made in the whole of 2019.
Talita told Newsflash: “With the fires, various animals ran towards the city and four opossum mothers were killed by dogs. More than 15 animals died in total: opossum joeys together with their mothers. From those four mothers, seven opossums survived. He took these little opossums and gave them to me.”
Samuel gave the opossum joeys to Talita for her to take care of, before their eventual release back into the wild.
Talita told Newsflash: “One day the little opossums seemed sad and dispirited because they were missing their mother, and my dog, Jojo Toddynho, laid down in front of me as I was feeding them.
“One of the little opossums went up to her and clung onto her. Seeing that situation, I thought: ‘I’ll put the others on top of her because they must be missing their mother.’ When I placed them onto her, it was incredible because they grabbed onto her and she completely accepted them. It was so beautiful to see.”
Talita told Newsflash that over the following days she would put the opossums on her pet’s back, and that the little joeys would even approach Jojo of their own accord.
Despite Jojo’s maternal bond with the baby opossums, experts have warned that the biggest threat to the marsupials in urban areas are dog attacks.
Talita told Newsflash: “I stopped the contact between them and my dog because they have to be afraid of people, dogs and other animals. If not, they could end up like their mothers: killed by dogs.”
Talita told Newsflash that the opossums have already been released back into the wild, having reached the appropriate size and weight, and having learnt to find water, shelter and food independently.
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Story By: William McGee, Sub-Editor: Joseph Golder, Agency: Newsflash
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