Wallabies Arrive at the Santa Barbara Zoo

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Wallabies Arrive at the Santa Barbara Zoo
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Source: Santa Barbara Zoo

The Santa Barbara Zoo is excited to announce the arrival of the first two Bennett’s wallabies who will soon call the new Australian Walkabout exhibit home. In its final stages of construction and scheduled to officially open in early January 2022,  the new exhibit is being designed to transport guests “Down Under,” where they can walk among the wallabies, kangaroos, emus, and see native birds.

The first two wallabies to arrive are both two-year-old females that came together from Trevor Zoo at Millbrook School, NY. Two male wallabies will also arrive soon and eventually join the females, with a breeding recommendation as part of the Species Survival Plan from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). 

“We are thrilled to welcome the first wallabies to the Santa Barbara Zoo, and are happy to see that they are adjusting well so far,” said Dr. Julie Barnes, the Zoo’s Vice President of Animal Care & Health. “We are really looking forward to sharing the new habitat and its unique Australian animals with our guests very soon.”

Bennett's wallabies are medium-sized marsupials found along the eastern coast of Australia and on the island of Tasmania. They are members of the macropod family, which also includes kangaroos and wallaroos. Their native habitat ranges from eucalyptus forests to open areas adjacent to forests, and their diet consists of mostly grasses, herbs, and leaves. 

Adults can weigh between 30 and 40 pounds and stand about three feet tall, with males being slightly larger than females. One of the most identifiable traits of macropods is their unique form of locomotion, which is hopping, sometimes reaching speeds greater than 9 miles per hour. Though best known for hopping, wallabies can also crawl and swim. They have an acute sense of smell and hearing. Their large ears are capable of moving 180 degrees independently, allowing them to remain alert for potential predators, such as dingoes.

Want to support wallabies? Help welcome the first residents of the Australian Walkabout by becoming a wallaby Foster Feeder today. Visit https://www.sbzoo.org/support/  to learn more. Wallaby naming sponsorship opportunities are available too!  Contact donate@sbzoo.org  to learn more.  

Construction is nearly complete on the 15,000 square-foot Australian Walkabout, which is anticipated to open to the public in early January 2022. The new exhibit is specifically designed to put guests right in the middle of the action, exploring open pathways, beautiful landscapes, and seeing some of the most iconic and unique wildlife representatives from the continent of Australia, including emus, kangaroos, and wallabies, in addition to birds native to Australia. 


About the Santa Barbara Zoo
 
The Santa Barbara Zoo is open daily from 9 a.m. for members and 9:30 a.m. for general admission until 5 p.m. (seasonal extended hours on select days); general admission is $19.95 for adults, $14.95 for children 2-12, and free for children under 2. Parking is $11. The Santa Barbara Zoo is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA).  AZA zoos are dedicated to providing excellent care for animals, a great visitor experience, and a better future for all living things. With its more than 200 accredited members, AZA is a leader in global wildlife conservation and is the public’s link to helping animals in their native habitats. Visit www.sbzoo.org.
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Minibeast Oct 05, 2021 08:34 PM
Wallabies Arrive at the Santa Barbara Zoo

Emus, kangaroos and wallabies belong in their native habitat. Imprisoning animals that, by nature, travel miles and miles for forage is cruel and despicable. Please don’t condone such cruelty by visiting or donating to the zoo.

Byzantium Oct 05, 2021 08:39 PM
Wallabies Arrive at the Santa Barbara Zoo

These are species regeneration projects. They are doing everyone a big favor dedicating this institution to the protection of endangered species who are getting crowded out of their own habitats. Visit the zoo, they have a lot of instructional information and ways you can productively help their sound efforts of species protection and breeding programs.

a-1633495303 Oct 05, 2021 09:41 PM
Wallabies Arrive at the Santa Barbara Zoo

Yahbut - nobody ever asked the animals opinion.

Forgive the anthropomorphism.

I can and have been persuaded that there is potential value in zoos holding species captive as a means to ensure survivability of the unique genetics of a particular creature. Modern version of Noahs Ark I suppose. Selective breeding and CRISPR technologies may be the only hope we have of retaining some diversity. Perverse as heck, but it's the world we have wrought upon this planet.

Yet, at the humanimal level of perception, I feel a sadness over stripping these creatures of their chance for a free and natural life.

Conversely,, eating a properly grilled wallaby doesn't bug me as much as locking one up in cage for it's entire existence.

The first can be excused by the need to eat argument, but the cage seems perversely cruel.

dukemunson Oct 06, 2021 08:42 AM
Wallabies Arrive at the Santa Barbara Zoo

Animals in the wild end up usually having bad deaths… there has to be a few species that don’t mind the zoo… three square meals a day and a better end than being slowly ripped apart and eaten by something bigger.

Babycakes Oct 06, 2021 09:33 AM
Wallabies Arrive at the Santa Barbara Zoo

I'm extremely intuitive when it comes to animals, and the animals at our local zoo are happy as can be. It's a gift that I was born with, and received from my father as he was part Cherokee, and was very spiritual when it came to land and nature....he could see/feel things that others could not. He would laugh at the animal psychics that would appear on tv and called them "liars." These beautiful animals prefer captivity to living in the wild. They have no lack of food, water, or medical care and do not live in fear. They also live much longer lives than they do in the wild. It's not wise to project our human needs/desires on zoo animals. So, please enjoy them and support our lovely little zoo!

sacjon Oct 06, 2021 10:05 AM
Wallabies Arrive at the Santa Barbara Zoo

BABY - I think you're right for the most part. As an animal lover, I spend time at zoos or other wildlife sanctuaries I've been to, just connecting with animals. I can tell when they're stressed or miserable. I remember as a kid, seeing the tiger at SB zoo and I don't think it was happy, at all. Times have changed though. Recently, we watched the snow leopard, Kisa, playing with a bone like a kitten and strutting around happily. The animals there now are so well-treated and cared for. They truly seem happy. I'm sure we'd ALL be happier in some other existence, but that doesn't mean they aren't happy now. Ditto on supporting the zoo. Please educate yourselves about the good zoos and sanctuaries and wildlife centers and give them your support so they can help the animals!

Lucky 777 Oct 06, 2021 10:36 AM
Wallabies Arrive at the Santa Barbara Zoo

Once upon a time the restaurant Frimples/Fig Tree (now IHOP) had wallabies in the middle, living around the tree in the center, and kids loved to get seats on those glass windows and watch them. And then parents got more prudish, and complained about the frequent sexual activity or the marsupials, and they were given to the zoo. When I worked at the zoo in the 1980's they were a popular attraction, and I oversaw adding flax plants to their paddock to make it more comfortable for them. One day they were gone, and workers were revamping the area for different animals. Co-workers told me they'd all been killed and fed to the big cats. Made me sad. Now they are saying they've never had wallabies before. Not true. But I can understand why they'd want to cover up that shameful bit of the zoo history. At the time they put out a press release saying "a pack of wild dogs came into the zoo and killed them." Not true.

sbsunshine Oct 06, 2021 07:09 PM
Wallabies Arrive at the Santa Barbara Zoo

WOW!!!! The truth will set us free. We need to have an official investigation and response to this. If we all look the other way it doesn't make it right. If we all say "that was a long time ago" it doesn't make it right. If the person that wrote this is incorrect, there should be a paper trail, photos at the historical society and newspaper articles of the animals at the old IHOP. This this story is true there needs to be a healing around the abuse of the animals that occurred. It doesn't matter who, or how long ago, it needs to be respected as truth and grieved. We do have many happy animals at the zoo and deeply loving people. We need to use that great depth of love to heal any abuse that may have happened. It is similar to the evils that were done to the Chumash...yes, they happened a long time ago and yet, there still needs to be healing. Animals are precious unconditional bundles of love. By honoring them, we honor the essence of who we are and the truth of love and ultimately God.

OGSB Oct 06, 2021 08:37 PM
Wallabies Arrive at the Santa Barbara Zoo

@Lucky, WTF? Wallabies at Frimples? Maybe that was before my time, but I never got to experience that in the 80's or ever. We did love that place and its late night eats!

a-1634223507 Oct 14, 2021 07:58 AM
Wallabies Arrive at the Santa Barbara Zoo

So maybe we should put our energies and resources toward doing that for humans? Like American Indians and Blacks?

I don't know about the murdered wallabies that Lucky 777 tells about -- that treatment and coverup is terrible. But I do know that in the mid-70's it was possible to feed a horse to the zoo's big cats. That's how our elder, lame, in-pain horse was disposed of. So she must have been shot, rather than drugged to death. Personally, I believe in that cycle of life.

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