Southern Hairy-Nosed Wombat Joey Out and About at Brookfield Zoo

Southern Hairy-Nosed Wombat Joey Out and About at Brookfield Zoo
On your next visit to Brookfield Zoo’s Australia House you can now see one of the newest additions—a southern hairy-nosed wombat joey. The young marsupial, born on August 8, 2018, to 18-year-old Kambora, is out of her mom’s pouch exploring her surroundings.



Staff first noticed movement in Kambora’s pouch in October 2018 and did not see the joey emerge until mid-March 2019. 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. Now weighing just over 10 pounds, the joey is very inquisitive and becoming more independent.

Southern Hairy-Nosed Wombat Joey Out and About at Brookfield Zoo

The not-yet-named joey is Kambora’s seventh offspring and the second for the sire, 6-year-old Darryl, who arrived at Brookfield Zoo in 2016 from Austrailia. Chicago Zoological Society staff work 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 22 wombat births at Brookfield Zoo.

Southern Hairy-Nosed Wombat Joey Out and About 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 consists 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.

Posted: 5/8/2019 10:56:27 AM by Bryan Todd Oakley

CZS & Brookfield Zoo

Since the opening of Brookfield Zoo in 1934, the Chicago Zoological Society has had an international reputation for taking a cutting-edge role in animal care and conservation of the natural world. Learn more about the animals, people, and research that make up CZS here at our blog.


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