Brookfield Zoo guests can now see rare wombat joey - FOX 32 News Chicago

Brookfield Zoo guests can now see rare wombat joey

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

There are only ten southern hairy-nosed wombats living in four zoos accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums in North America. Now, guests visiting the Brookfield Zoo will get to see several of these rare marsupials, including a female joey born February 18th, 2012.

The soon-to-be-named joey is the fourth offspring of 12-year-old Kambora, who was born at San Diego Zoo, and the second for Wilbur, 20, who was wild-born in Australia.

Although the joey was born more than eight months ago, it wasn't until mid-September that zookeepers were able to get a good look at the youngster because, like all marsupials, wombat joeys develop in a pouch.

Immediately after birth, the tiny joey--which was about the size of a bumblebee--crawled into Kambora's pouch, where she has been sleeping and nursing to get all the necessary nutrients she needs to fully develop. Now predominantly out of her mom's pouch, the inquisitive nearly 6.5-pound joey has been exploring her new surroundings.

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 16 successful wombat births at Brookfield Zoo.

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