The Santa Barbara Zoo announced Thursday that it has welcomed three male Western grey kangaroos, the final species to inhabit the new Australian Walkabout exhibit set to open in January 2022.
The kangaroos, named Max, Aspen, and Coolibah, join four Bennett’s wallabies and two emus, who have recently all moved into the exhibit to adjust to their new surroundings and each other. “We’re happy to share that all the animals are now cohabitating in the exhibit, and getting acclimated with each other and their new surroundings,” said Dr. Julie Barnes, vice president of animal care and health at the zoo. “So far the animals all seem to be adjusting really well, and we’re really looking forward to introducing these unique and iconic animals to our guests very soon.”
Max the kangaroo was born in May 2020 and was transferred from the San Diego Zoo. Aspen and Coolibah are brothers that arrived together from the L.A. Zoo. The older brother, Aspen, was born in August 2019, and the younger brother, Coolibah, named after a type of eucalyptus tree, was born in August 2020.
Western grey kangaroos are in the family of marsupials, and are a social species that usually live in groups known as “mobs” of up to 50. Western grey kangaroos have powerful, large rear legs, which support the familiar leaping motion, also aided by their long tail, which acts as a balance. Western grey kangaroos are herbivores, and their diet consists mainly of grasses, some herbs, leaves, tree bark, and shrubs. They also have a high tolerance to certain plant toxins. Contrary to their common name, they are found throughout southern Australia, from the Indian Ocean in Western Australia to western Victoria, New South Wales, and southern Queensland.
Construction is nearly complete on the 15,000-square-foot Australian Walkabout, which is specifically designed to put guests right in the middle of the action, exploring open pathways, and seeing some of the most iconic and unique wildlife representatives from the continent of Australia.