The wombat joey, born on Feb. 4, is now out and about exploring her surroundings along with her mom, 17-year-old Kambora at the zoo’s Australia House.
The not-yet-named female joey was not visible to the zoo’s animal care staff until she was almost seven months old, when she emerged from her mother’s pouch.
“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,” a Brookfield Zoo release read.
The new arrival appeared out of Kambora’s pouch for the first time at the end of August and at that time was still only visible for short periods of time.
Now the joey weighs just over 10 pounds and is out for all to see. She is Kambora’s sixth offspring and the first for the sire, 5-year-old Darryl, who arrived at Brookfield Zoo in 2016 from Australia.
There are only nine southern hairy-nosed wombats in five North American institutions, including at Brookfield Zoo. The new joey joins that list.
“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 21 wombat births at Brookfield Zoo,” the Zoo said.
“Currently, the wombat population in Australia is being threatened by habitat loss, drought, and agricultural practices…Several years ago, Chicago Zoological Society staff worked 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.”
Check out more photos of the joey and his mom, Kambora below: