News Release
Contact: Sondra Katzen, Public Relations, 708.688.8351,
October 24, 2017
Southern Hairy-Nosed Wombat Joey Out and About at Brookfield Zoo

Images of the southern hairy-nosed wombat joey and her mom may be downloaded below:

Photo Captions—photo credit: Jim Schulz/Chicago Zoological Society
4565.jpg, 4508.jpg, and 4523.jpg:
A southern hairy-nosed wombat joey with her 17-year-old mom Kambora at Brookfield Zoo. The joey was born on February 4, 2017, and has just recently begun spending all her time outside mom’s pouch. In 1974, Brookfield Zoo became the first zoo outside of Australia to successfully breed the species in professional care.

4540.jpg, 4562.jpg, and 5787.jpg:
A southern hairy-nosed wombat born on February 4, 2017, at Brookfield Zoo can be seen in the Australia House. The joey recently emerged from her mom’s pouch. A joey spends its first 6½ months of life in mom’s pouch. This is the 21st birth of this species at Brookfield Zoo, which was the first zoo outside of Australia to successfully breed southern hairy-nosed wombats in professional care.
Southern Hairy-Nosed Wombat Joey Out and About at Brookfield Zoo
      Brookfield, Ill.—There are only nine southern hairy-nosed wombats in five North American institutions, including at Brookfield Zoo. Now, guests can venture over to the zoo’s Australia House to see the latest addition. A wombat joey (a marsupial baby), born on February 4, 2017, is out and about exploring her surroundings along with her mom, 17-year-old Kambora.

It wasn’t until the joey was about 6½ months old that animal care staff first saw her emerge from Kambora’s pouch. At birth, a wombat joey 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. The joey at Brookfield Zoo appeared for the first time at the end of August, at which time she would be visible for short spurts before climbing back into 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, Chicago Zoological Society staff worked closely with the 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.
Southern hairy-nosed wombats, whose closest living relative is the koala, are thick, heavy-bodied animals. They are native to central southern Australia, where they live in arid to semiarid savannah woodlands, grasslands, and low shrub plains. They are about the size of a medium-size dog, but are much more rounded and solidly built. The pouch opens to the rear, so that when they are digging, soil does not get into it. Wombats have long claws, a stubby tail, a flattened head that looks too big for their body, and short, powerful legs. They use their long claws when digging warrens—complex, underground tunnel systems—that are the center of wombat life. Each warren is made up of several separate burrows. Wombats never wander too far from their warrens. Several wombats may have their warrens near each other, forming a cluster. However, they rarely interact with each other. Currently, the wombat population in Australia is being threatened by habitat loss, drought, and agricultural practices.
#      #      #
About the Chicago Zoological Society
The mission of the Chicago Zoological Society is to inspire conservation leadership by connecting people with wildlife and nature. The Chicago Zoological Society is a private nonprofit organization that operates Brookfield Zoo on land owned by the Forest Preserves of Cook County. The Society is known throughout the world for its international role in animal population management and wildlife conservation. Its Center for the Science of Animal Care and Welfare is at the forefront of animal care that strives to discover and implement innovative approaches to zoo animal management. Brookfield Zoo is the first zoo in the world to be awarded the Humane Certified™ certification mark for the care and welfare of its animals, meeting American Humane Association’s rigorous certification standards. Open every day of the year, the zoo is located at 8400 31st Street in Brookfield, Illinois, between the Stevenson (I-55) and Eisenhower (I-290) expressways and is also accessible via the Tri-State Tollway (I-294), Metra commuter line, CTA and PACE bus service. For further information, visit


Sondra Katzen
Media Relations Manager
Office: 708-688-8351
Cell Phone: 708-903-2071


Center for the Science of Animal Welfare

Read about our innovative practices in animal welfare to ensure the ultimate care of our individual animals.

Classes and Camps

Center for Conservation Leadership

We place a high priority on developing and supporting conservation leaders of all ages and backgrounds.


Visit Brookfield Zoo

Create extraordinary connections with animals and nature!

Animal Welfare

You Can Help!

Become our partner in caring for animals and in connecting people with wildlife and nature.