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Tasmanian wombats in Albuquerque

 
 
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  #1
Tasmanian wombats in Albuquerque
Old 10-12-2010

NM zoo gets North America's only Tasmanian wombats - KWES NewsWest 9 / Midland, Odessa, Big Spring, TX: newswest9.com |
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A little piece of Australia has found it way to New Mexico.

Officials at the Albuquerque BioPark Zoo introduced Otto, a nearly 2-year-old Tasmanian wombat, on Thursday.

After a quick photo op with officials, Otto got to inspect his new home. He wasted no time waddling around the small pond, crawling up a large log, munching on the native grass and playing with his stuffed teddy bear toy.

There are about a half-dozen other species of wombats in zoos around the country, but Otto and the two adult wombats that arrived in Albuquerque last week are the only Tasmanian wombats in North America.

Zoo officials say it has taken several years of planning and about $60,000 to acquire the three orphaned wombats.

Wombats are the world's largest burrowing mammals.
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Old 10-12-2010

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There are about a half-dozen other species of wombats in zoos around the country, but Otto and the two adult wombats that arrived in Albuquerque last week are the only Tasmanian wombats in North America...
Dear me... journalists these days

Nice species, but what would an American Zoo do with 3 Tasmanian Wombats?
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Old 10-12-2010

Well they're not the Tasmanian devils they were planning on but still a very interesting addition to the collection. Tasmanian Wombats along with the only Victorian Koalas in the US makes this an Australian animal collection worth visiting.

The journalists made an error clearly, they should have said, "there are a half dozen other wombats belonging to a different species, in zoos across the country."
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Old 10-12-2010

are all the other wombats in the USA southern hairy-noses?
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Old 10-12-2010

Yes there are 4.2 Southern Hairy-nosed Wombats distributed amongst the Brookfield, Memphis, San Diego, and Toronto Zoos.
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  #6
Old 10-12-2010

I didn't realise when I posted the thread that it was a whole new species for North American zoos. That's excellent. Here's a longer article:
Tasmanian Wombats Are Cute New U.S. Zoo Residents : NPR
Quote:
A little piece of Australia has found its way to New Mexico.

Officials at the Albuquerque BioPark Zoo on Thursday showed off their latest acquisition: a nearly 2-year-old Tasmanian wombat named Otto.

After a quick photo op with Mayor Richard Berry and other officials, Otto got to inspect his new home. The furry creature wasted no time waddling around a small pond, crawling up a large log, munching on the native grass and playing with his stuffed teddy bear toy.

"This is way cool," the mayor said as he watched Otto. "You just can't get any cuter."

There are about a half-dozen other species of wombats in zoos around the U.S., but Otto and the two adult wombats that arrived in Albuquerque last week are the only Tasmanian wombats in North America. They're from Tasmania, an island south of the Australian mainland.

Zoo officials said it has taken several years of planning and about $60,000 in funds raised by the BioPark Society to acquire the three orphaned wombats. Final approval to export the animals came recently, and zoo officials made a 14-hour road trip to Los Angeles to meet the wombats after the animals' long flight from Australia.

Aside from kangaroos and koalas, wombats are one of Australia's most beloved animals, said Androo Kelly, an expert from the Trowunna Wildlife Park in Tasmania who hand-reared the three wombats and escorted them to Albuquerque.

"They're full of character and personality so I'm sure they're going to be a real hit here,'' said Kelly, who is staying for about 10 days to train the zookeepers to care for the new additions.

Wombats, the world's largest burrowing mammals, are closely related to the koala. They are marsupials and they eat leaves, native grass and roots in other words, any coarse vegetation that will help them keep their ever-growing teeth in check. They can also be aggressive and territorial as adults. That's why the zoo built three separate exhibit spaces for Otto, a 3-year-old male named Yamu and a 4-year-old female named Womona.

After their mothers were hit by vehicles, the wombats were rescued and Kelly reared them by hand. He remembers when Otto could fit in the palm of his hand.

"These wombats are particularly special because they're of wild origin,'' he said.

"They have traveled all the way from Tasmania here to America because they wouldn't have been able to be returned to the wild after being hand reared from such a young age.''

BioPark director Rick Janser said the Albuquerque zookeepers had to be trained and the exhibits had to meet the muster of Australian officials before they would allow for the wombats to come to the United States. The standards are strict, he said.

Berry and many others at Otto's introduction said they had never seen a wombat. The same holds true for many Australians because the creatures are nocturnal and very mysterious, Kelly said.

Zoo officials said they are also working on a plan to acquire Tasmanian devils, another iconic Australian animal. However, it could be years before that happens due to a contagious cancer that has decimated populations of the furry black animal to the point of it being classified as an endangered species.
I like the comment from Albuquerque's hip mayor: "This is way cool"
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  #7
Old 12-12-2010

Half a dozen other species? That's not right.
 


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