Remembering Carver: Oldest Wombat on Record
Carver, the oldest southern hairy-nosed wombat on record, died yesterday (Oct. 1, 2009) at 34 years of age. Carver, a charismatic marsupial and significant wildlife ambassador for his counterparts in the wild, sired nine offspring at Brookfield Zoo, including two joeys with Kambora Wombat: Adelaide, a female born on July 8, 2008, and Goldie, born on October 29, 2006, both currently on exhibit at Australia House
Carver was born at Brookfield Zoo in February 1975, making him one of the first southern hairy-nosed wombats born outside Australia. According to published documents on wombats, Carver not only held the longevity record for his species in a zoo, but also in the wild. (The previous longevity record for all three species of wombat in a zoo was held by Carver’s mother Vicky, who lived to the age of 24.) Because he was a geriatric animal, Carver needed some special care in recent years. He was treated for cataracts, arthritis, and squamous cell carcinoma, a common skin cancer.
Only four North American zoos, including Brookfield Zoo, exhibit the species. Brookfield Zoo has a long history with wombats. In 1975, it was the first zoo outside of Australia to breed southern hairy-nosed wombats---and Carver was one of the first born at Brookfield Zoo. At Brookfield Zoo, Carver was part of an landmark hormonal study that helps inform ongoing conservation efforts on behalf of wombats in Australia--particularly the endangered northern hairy-nosed wombats.
Wombats are thick, heavy-bodied animals found in arid to semiarid savannah woodlands, grassland, and low shrub plains in Australia. They are about the size of a medium-size dog, making them the largest burrowing mammals in the world.
Carver was a long-time favorite of staff and public alike and will be missed.
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