Molly and Wally, the wombat breeding pair of the Budapest Zoo and Botanical Garden, has delighted wombat fans with another joey in 2020. The newcomer was born in spring, he looked out of the pouch for the first time in the middle of Summer, and with a little luck since September until the closure, visitors could already admire it in the indoor or the outdoor enclosure. Budapest Zoo is especially successful in breeding these marsupials, which are very rarely seen in zoos. Of the 21 total wombat babies been born in European zoos since 1914, 5 of them have been born in Budapest in the last decade.
You may (or may not be) aware that today is World Wombat Day! A day to celebrate and commemorate this iconic Australian animal. Taromga Zoo is home to five Southern hairy-nosed wombats and one Common Wombat.
The most recent addition to Taronga’s wombat family is Wanyi, a 13-month-old female Southern hairy-nosed wombat who has only recently emerged from mum’s pouch and begun making her way in the world during early August!
Wanyi, translates to ‘girl’ in the indigenous Wirangu language. She currently weighs in at an impressive 11.2kg and oh has she progressed! Although she has come far in size and personality Wanyi never strays too far from mum Jetta who is still very protective despite their similar size.
On May 15, a male Southern Hairy-nosed Wombat was born at the L.A. Zoo to first-time parents, Olga and Murray.
The joey spent several important months safely tucked away in Olga's pouch, but he’s now emerged and can occasionally be seen on-exhibit in the ‘nocturnal house’ of the zoo’s Australia Habitat.
The Southern Hairy-nosed Wombat (Lasiorhinus latifrons) is the smallest of the three species of wombats. It is found in areas from the eastern Nullarbor Plain to the New South Wales border area. The species is currently classified as “Near Threatened” on the IUCN Red List.
The species feeds primarily on select native perennial grasses and sedges, but they will consume introduced pasture species, forbs, and the leaves of woody shrubs if needed. The teeth of the wombat are very effective in grinding food into small particles.
The gestation period of the wombat lasts 22 days, and most births occur in October. When a young is born, it climbs into the mother’s pouch and clings to a teat. It will stay in the pouch for six months and grow to around 0.45 kg. Because wombats are natural burrowers, a mother's pouch faces backwards so that she can dig without getting dirt into her joey's home.
The joey will emerge from the pouch at around six months and begin grazing at the surface. The young is fully weaned when it is a year old and reaches full size at the age of three years.
The L.A. Zoo is one of only four in the country that take care of wombats, making their new little family one-third of the population of wombats in U.S. zoos!
A baby Southern Hairy-nosed Wombat, born on February 4, 2017 at the Brookfield Zoo and one of only nine living in North America, is out of the pouch and exploring her surroundings along with her mom, 17-year-old Kambora.
At birth, a Wombat joey (that’s what a baby marsupial, or pouched mammal, is called) is tiny and hairless, and is about the size of a bumblebee. It climbs into its mom’s pouch where it attaches to a teat and remains there for the first few months of life. While in the pouch the young joey sleeps and nurses, getting all the necessary nutrients it needs to fully develop. Though she was born in February, the joey didn't peek out of Kambora’s pouch until the end of August. Gradually, she went from poking her head for a few seconds to climbing completely out of the pouch. Now weighing just over 10 pounds, the joey is very inquisitive and becoming more independent.
The not-yet-named joey is Kambora’s sixth offspring and the first for the sire, 5-year-old Darryl, who arrived at Brookfield Zoo in 2016 from Australia. Several years ago, Brookfield Zoo staff worked with the five other North American zoos that have southern hairy-nosed Wombats, along with Zoos South Australia and their government, to form and develop a breeding program to ensure a genetically sustainable population for the species in professional care.
In 1969, Brookfield Zoo received three Southern Hairy-nosed Wombats, and, in 1974, became the first zoo outside of Australia to successfully breed the species in professional care. Since then, there have been 21 Wombat births at Brookfield Zoo. There are only nine southern hairy-nosed Wombats in five North American institutions, including at Brookfield Zoo.
In October, ZooBorns introduced you to ‘Chloe’, the orphaned Wombat joey, at the Taronga Zoo. Chloe’s mother was struck by a car, and Taronga keeper, Evelyn Watson, became surrogate mom to the six-month-old joey. Evelyn carried Chloe everywhere, in a makeshift pouch, stopping work for feeding every few hours.
Chloe is, now, nine-months-old and out of the pouch. She has become Keeper Evelyn’s loyal companion and assistant during her morning rounds at the zoo.
The morning walks are part of the joey’s continuing development, as she prepares to take her next big step towards returning to the wild.
“It’s a natural behavior and something Chloe would be doing with her real mother if she’d survived. Wombats stay with their mothers for up to two years, walking by their side until they’re old enough to fend for themselves,” said Evelyn.
Now strong enough to walk and explore on her own, Chloe has begun learning the natural Wombat behaviors she’ll need to survive in the wild. Keepers have built the joey a special home in an off-exhibit area to encourage her to dig burrows and forage for her own food.
“She’s really learning how to be a Wombat. Her paws are already toughening up and she’s quite happy digging about on her own,” said Evelyn.
When ready, Chloe will be transferred to a Wombat ‘halfway house’, where she’ll learn how to care for herself, before being released back into the wild.
More great photos of Chloe below the fold!
An orphaned Wombat Joey is receiving round-the-clock care at Taronga Zoo after its mother was struck by a car outside Sydney.
Taronga Keeper, Evelyn Weston, has taken on the role of surrogate mother to the six-month-old joey, carrying a makeshift pouch and stopping work for bottle feeds every five hours.
The female joey was rescued by a wildlife carer, in June, after its mother was struck and killed on a road near Jenolan Caves. Luckily, the joey, named ‘Chloe’ by the carer, was found still alive inside the pouch.
Chloe was brought to Taronga Wildlife Hospital last week for ongoing care, and she’s been busy melting hearts among the Zoo’s keepers, who have been only too happy to help Evelyn with her mothering duties.
“My biggest problem is getting her back,” joked Evelyn. “She’s very affectionate and also a bit naughty. She loves chewing on shoes and if you walk away from her she chases after you like a rocket.”
Chloe will remain in Evelyn’s care for at least another two months, before moving to a temporary new home at Taronga’s Australian Walkabout. Keepers hope Chloe will be strong enough to return to the wild in about 18 months.
There are more amazing pics below the fold!
Taronga Zoo in Australia is celebrating the arrival of its second Southern Hairy-nosed Wombat joey in three years, a breeding success story that could also help the Critically Endangered Northern Hairy-nosed Wombat.
The female joey, which has been named Sydney, has just begun venturing outside mom Korra’s pouch at eight months old, to the delight of keepers and visitors.
Keeper Brett Finlayson said the birth was particularly exciting as Southern Hairy-nosed Wombats are notoriously difficult to breed.
“Compatibility and timing seem to be crucial ingredients for success, as the female is only receptive to the male for a 12-hour window. Korra and our male, Noojee, have proven to be a great pairing as this is their second joey in three years,” said Brett.
See photos and learn more after the fold.
At family-run Wild About Wildlife Rescue Center in Kilmore, Victoria, marsupials are regulars. Earlier in May, when a member of the public brought in a tiny wombat whose mother had been hit by a car, the Milligan family knew just how to nurse the little marsupial back to health.
Thanks to warm blankets and frequent bottle-feedings, the baby, named Elvis, is doing very well under their care. Elvis arrived weighing a tiny 220 grams but has grown to weigh 600 grams. A baby marsupial is entirely dependent on its mother. Born tiny, naked and undeveloped, the baby crawls into its mother's pouch where it nurses and continues to grow. Wombats stay inside their mother's pouch for five months, and become independent at about seven months.
Learn more after the fold.
Some guests to Brookfield Zoo may not know what a Southern Hairy-Nosed Wombat is since there are only 10 in four North American zoos accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). But if they visit Brookfield Zoo’s Australia House, they will get to see several of these marsupials, including a female joey that was born February 18, 2012.
The not-yet-named joey is the fourth offspring of 12-year-old Kambora, who was born at San Diego Zoo, and the second for Wilbur, 20, who was wild-born in Australia. Although the joey was born more than eight months ago, it wasn’t until mid-September that zookeepers were able to get a good look at the youngster because, like all marsupials, Wombat joeys develop in a pouch.
Immediately after birth, the tiny joey which was about the size of a bumblebee—crawled into Kambora’s pouch, where she has been sleeping and nursing to get all the necessary nutrients she needs to fully develop. Now predominantly out of her mom’s pouch, the inquisitive joey has been exploring her new surroundings.
Photo credit: Jim Schulz/Chicago Zoological Society
Last month, the Chicago Zoological Society (CZS), which manages Brookfield Zoo, held the first North American international symposium on Southern Hairy-Nosed Wombats. During the three-day meeting, representatives for the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and from Australia shared information on care, husbandry, conservation, and management of the species. Participants discussed local and regional Wombat conservation issues in Australia, as well as the importation process that has been established with the Australian government. This past summer marked a significant milestone for the Southern Hairy-Nosed Wombat program in the United States in that it was the first importation of this species in several decades.
More pics below the fold!
Meet Peggy, Anzac, and Cupcake. Not only are all three Marsupials, but they were all orphaned when motor vehicle accidents claimed the lives of their mothers. It's difficult to know their exact ages, but Australia's Wild About Wildlife Rescue Center estimates that Peggy the Wombat and Anzac the Eastern Grey Kangaroo were 3 - 4 months old when they came into care. Cupcake the Swamp Wallaby was about 5 months of age. They are all fed a low lactose milk formula.
As you can tell from these images, the trio gets along splendidly, and Cupcake the Wallaby is particularly active these days. "When you are looking for her, you don't bother looking on the floor, you look up to see what piece of furniture she is about to launch herself from," reports Wild About Wildlife founder Alistair Brown. The rescue center's intention is to release them to the wild when they are old enough.