Baby wombats and dingo puppies: our zoo welcomes new animals
Published: 16 Sep 2022 2:30pm
Visitors to the Wagga Zoo & Aviary will be able to meet four new additions to the zoo family these school holidays; two baby wombats and two dingo puppies.
The new arrivals have been settling into their enclosures and enjoying round-the-clock care from the zoo team.
The two little wombat orphans were donated to the zoo in August by a wildlife rescue organisation.
Zoo Curator Wendy McNamara said the donation was prompted, in part, by a declining number of safe release sites for rescued wombats.
“Wombats in the wild are struggling, with many burrows destroyed by floods, and wombat populations affected by mange,” Ms McNamara said.
“So we’re very happy to be able to take care of these two precious animals and give them a safe home.”
Gus is approximately 10 months old and weighs around 4 kilos and Madeline is around 7 months old, weighing 2.5 kilos.
The two have quickly become best friends.
“They play-fight a bit, but they’re very bonded,” Ms McNamara said.
“Gus is my cuddle-bug and Madeline just wants to take on the world.”
In addition to eating lots of grass, hay and pellets, the little wombats are bottle-fed a special formula for native Australian animals four times a day, which will continue until they’re around 10 kilos each.
Ms McNamara said Gus and Madeline will be spending supervised time in their enclosure over the school holidays between 10am-12pm daily in fine weather.
“Being babies, they still need their time out with lots of rest and sleep.”
The zoo also recently acquired two dingo puppies from the Australian Dingo Foundation, thanks to funding provided by the Wagga Wagga Friends of the Botanic Gardens.
Ms McNamara said the zoo team had chosen the 12-week-old dingoes in order to expand their collection of Australian native animals.
“We didn’t have any carnivores, and it’s a great opportunity to educate people on Australia’s wild dogs,” Ms McNamara said.
Zeke and Diego, both males, have settled in well and are enjoying exploring their brand-new enclosure, eating a mix of high-quality puppy food and bones, and working with an animal trainer.
“They're incredibly smart animals, and we’re spending a lot of time working on their socialisation and obedience training to ensure they’re friendly, well-adjusted and non-aggressive,” Ms McNamara said.
“They’re getting lots of exercise and stimulation, and we’ll be out walking them around the zoo and the gardens. If you see one of the zoo keepers walking Zeke or Diego, just ask if you can approach, as they’re not like a domestic dog.”
The dingoes’ new daytime enclosure was 12 months in the making, and fully constructed and landscaped by the zoo team.
The enclosure features a pond and two dens that are joined by a tunnel beneath a central mound. The mound is covered in large rocks which allows the dingoes to follow their natural inclination and climb up to observe their surroundings.
To ensure everyone’s safety, the enclosure has specially designed fences, built to NSW Department of Primary Industries’ specifications, and dig mesh, which stops the animals from digging out of their enclosure.
Zoo visitors are strongly encouraged to stay behind the chain link fencing on both sides of the enclosure. Zoo keepers will relocate the dingoes each evening to their secure nighttime enclosure.
Visitors to the Wagga Zoo & Aviary will be able to meet both the new wombats and dingoes during the school holidays.
For more information and opening hours, visit wagga.nsw.gov.au/zoo