SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – The Santa Barbara Zoo welcomed its first baby wallaby.
Kalina, the zoo's female wallaby whose name was chosen through a public naming contest, is mom to the new baby Bennett's wallaby.
“We are very excited about the arrival of our first wallaby joey, and we’re now seeing it start to pop its head out of the pouch,” said Dr. Julie Barnes, the Zoo’s Vice President of Animal Care & Health.
Wallabies are born about the size of a jellybean and are carried in their mother's pouch for eight to nine months as they continue to grow. Kalina's joey is about five or six months old, the typical age that the animals begin exploring life outside of their pouch, explained Jennifer Zacharias, spokeswoman for the zoo.
“You might be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of the joey’s head or legs hanging out of Kalina’s pouch and if you look closely at her pouch, you will notice a lot of movement as the joey is now very active inside there," Barnes said.
"It will still be a while before the joey is ready to come all the way out of the pouch and spend time exploring the habitat with Kalina and it will continue to hop in and out of the pouch until it is about one year old.”
Wallabies are part of the Santa Barbara Zoo's new Australian Walkabout exhibit that opened in January.