Los Angeles Zoo Welcomes a Variety of Australian Babies

CONTACT: L.A. Zoo Press

March 12, 2015

Koala Mom and Joey by Tad Motoyama

Koala Mom and Joey Photo Credit: Tad Motoyama

Los Angeles Zoo Welcomes a Variety of Australian Babies
Media Invited To View Koala And Kangaroo Joeys As Well As Reopened Nocturnal House
The Australia section of the Los Angeles Zoo is brimming with change as kangaroo and koala joeys are finally emerging from their mother’s pouches and can be seen exploring their new habitat. Zoo guests can also visit the recently reopened Australia Nocturnal House which features a rare Southern hairy-nosed wombat that is being debuted to the public for the first time, a species that can only be seen in four other Zoos in North America.

“The Australia area of the Zoo is going through a lot of exciting changes right now,” said Damian Lechner, Animal Keeper for the Los Angeles Zoo. “Our collection of species is growing, and a lot of these animals are so rare that you won’t see them in many other zoos in the United States. We hope guests can come to the L.A. Zoo and feel like they are in Australia.”

The L.A. Zoo was proud to welcome two koala joeys, one male and one female, born on May 19, 2014. After spending six months in their mother’s pouches and then clinging to their backs, guests can finally spot these tree-dwelling marsupials venturing off into the branches on their own in search of tasty eucalyptus leaves. The babies can be seen on exhibit daily along with seven adult koalas.

Under the shade of the Eucalyptus trees, guests can also view two Western gray kangaroo joeys, sex not yet determined, born in June of 2014. The joeys, both born to first time mothers, still spend most of their time in their mother’s pouches but are known to pop their tiny head out during the day to sunbathe and explore their surroundings. The babies can be seen in the exhibit daily, weather permitting, along with four adult Western gray kangaroos that came to the L.A. Zoo from Cleland Wildlife Park in Australia nearly a year ago.

After being closed for nearly ten years, the L.A. Zoo has recently reopened its Australia House, home to animals such as the Southern hairy-nosed wombat, echidna, woylie and the sugar glider. Since a lot of these animals are nocturnal, the building works off a reverse light cycle. While it’s daytime for the rest of the Zoo, entry into the dark building transports guests into a nighttime environment where the animals are more active. Perhaps the rarest of the residents is a five-year-old Southern hairy-nosed wombat, who up until the reopening of the building was unable to be seen by Zoo guests. Found only in Australia, the Southern hairy-nosed wombat is a burrowing marsupial that is known to be very fast with a stout head and body supporting its short, powerful limbs, broad feet and strong claws. Their fur is soft, grizzled and a grayish-tan, and they weigh between 40 and 70 pounds. Guests can now view this smart marsupial as well as many other native Australian species that are difficult to spot in the wild in the newly reopened Australia House.

WHAT:   

Australian Babies Press Debut

WHEN:    

Thursday, March 12, 2015 at 9:30 A.M.

WHERE:      

Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens
5333 Zoo Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90027

MEDIA:   

Media staff should park in the Zoo’s south lot near the public bus circle, and a Zoo staff member will transport them to the Australia area of the Zoo.

VIDEO:    

http://we.tl/ecpDNrKDW6

About the Los Angeles Zoo
The Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens is located in Griffith Park at the junction of the Ventura (134) and Golden State (5) freeways. Admission is $19 for adults and $14 for children ages 2 to 12. The Zoo is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. For information, call (323) 644-4200 or visit the L.A. Zoo Web site at www.lazoo.org.