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Press Release-Wallabies are now receiving visitors at the Virginia Zoo's Australia exhibit

4 April 2014 by



NORFOLK, Va. - Wallabies are now receiving visitors at the Virginia Zoo's Australia exhibit.

"We had a unique opportunity to acquire wild wallabies from New Zealand, where they are not native and not welcome," said Greg Bockheim, the Zoo's executive director. "Now the wallabies have a new home, bringing valuable genetic diversity to populations in the U.S. and providing a fitting addition here, as we transition Australia to a walk-through exhibit."

The Zoo's Australia exhibit is scheduled to become a walk-through habitat this summer, but the transition may be postponed due to possible nesting by cassowaries adjacent to the habitat. When the transition is complete, visitors will be able to go inside the habitat and walk along a path among the resident animals.

The wallabies, one male and four females, arrived at the Zoo Feb. 28 and spent a month in quarantine inside the Zoo's new Animal Wellness Campus facility, before being introduced to the Australia exhibit Tuesday. They join eastern and western gray kangaroos, and emus, which were already in the exhibit.

A smaller member of the kangaroo family, Bennett's wallabies are native to Australia and Tasmania. Primarily grazers, they eat grass, leaves and other plants. Their size averages between 2 and 3 feet tall, and they weigh an average of 25 to 55 pounds. Crepuscular, they are most active early in the morning and late in the evening, spending most of the day resting in the shade. Their powerful tail and hind legs can propel them at speeds of up to 30 mph and they can leap 4 to 6 feet. They are not considered threatened due to large populations, the ability to tolerate a variety of different habitats, and a lack of any major threat from poaching or habitat encroachment.

A female Bennett's wallaby emerges from a crate into her new habitat in the Virginia Zoo's Australia exhibit Tuesday, April 1, 2014 (Virginia Zoo photo by Alexandra Zelazo-Kessler).


Visit the Virginia Zoo to see the adorable wallabies exhibit and more!

Other great animals and adventures you'll see at the Virginia Zoo:

Make today your day of adventure at the Virginia Zoo! Journey to mysterious places inhabited by exotic animals from around the world. Board the Norfolk Southern Express train for an expedition to Asia – Trail of the Tiger and Africa’s Okavango Delta.

Discover elephants, orangutans, kangaroo, tapirs, giraffes, exotic birds and more! Watch the red panda as it climbs through the trees just above your head. Go nose-to-nose with a prairie dog from your own underground viewing bubble. Stroll through themed gardens or get wet in one of the Zoo’s water fountains.

Open year round, provides education and entertainment for people of all ages and is home to more than 400 animals on 53 beautifully landscaped acres.

Welcome to the Gardens:

Come see the animals in our gardens!  Most visitors come to the Virginia Zoo with animals on their minds, but plants are the first things they see.  Our gardens set the stage for guests and Zoo residents. We create naturalistic habitats for exotic and native animals. We design, grow and plant themed gardens, and we provide fresh plant treats for our animals. 

Zoo Happenings

There’s always something new and fun at the Virginia Zoo. Check out new arrivals, browse our newsroom or discover an animal to adopt!

New Arrivals and Births Who’s new at the Zoo? Find out here.

Event Calendar Check out the upcoming events planned at the Zoo and find out how you can be part of the fun.

Newsroom Read up on the latest releases and announcements from the Virginia Zoo.

New Exhibits Asia - Trail of the Tiger is now open!

Behind the Scenes Tours Feed the giraffes or meet the lions!

Adopt an Animal Adopt a meerkat or maybe an elephant! We’ll feed and care for them, but through Zoodoption, you help out by adopting your favorite animal.

Activities for Kids!

Enjoy the Virginia Zoo – both in person and online. Play games, plan a birthday party or learn more about onsite programs that are just for kids and their families.

Kid & Family Programs We offer storybook times, special programs for families and even Parents’ Night Out at the Virginia Zoo.

Birthday Parties
Throw the picture-perfect celebration that combines a birthday bash with a trip to the Virginia Zoo!

Classes and Programs From scout programs to summer camp, the Zoo offers a variety of programs just our youngest guests.

Zoo Camp Have fun exploring and learning about wildlife in one of our Zoo camps! Camps are offered in the spring and summer.

And online activites at http://www.virginiazoo.org/activities-for-kids/index.asp

Plus, The Virginia Zoo offers great military discounts!

Membership has its privileges. Members receive unlimited admission to the Zoo, discounts at our gift shop and restaurant, invitations to exclusive members-only events and more.

The Virginia Zoo is proud to offer a MILITARY DISCOUNT off membership!

Military Family is $75/year ($10 savings).  The military family rate offers the same benefits as family category (Two adults and members' children or grandchildren, 18 years and younger) with a military id.

Become a Zoo Member It’s easy and economical to become a Zoo member.

Reciprocal Zoos Your Virginia Zoo membership card can open the doors to other zoos and aquariums with discounted and even free admission.

Follow the Virginia Zoo on Facebook and Twitter to keep up to date with the latest news and events!

To learn more about The Virginia Zoo visit them on MB!

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