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Brookfield Zoo welcomes — finally — three baby wallabies

The three joeys were, based on estimates, born between late October 2020 and early December and are just now emerging from their mom’s pouches.

A staff member at Brookfield Zoo feeds one of three new baby wallabies.
Maggie Chardell, a lead animal care specialist for the Chicago Zoological Society, feeds Whitney, a Bennett’s wallaby born at Brookfield Zoo on November 12, 2020.
Jim Schulz/CZS-Brookfield Zoo

Brookfield Zoo is finally getting around to announcing the arrival of three of its newest residents — one of which was born eight months ago.

That’s because Wallaby mothers don’t proudly display their newborn infants — called joeys — which come into the world at about the size of a bumble bee.

”We always have to end up sort of estimating the actual day of birth because we don’t see it. They come out weighing about a gram, climb their way up into the pouch and attach onto one of the teats, and then stay in that pouch as they continue to grow and develop for several months after that before we ever really see them,” said Michael Adkesson, Brookfield’s vice president of clinical medicine.

The three joeys were, based on estimates, born between late October 2020 and early December, staff say.

Like their close relative, the larger kangaroo, wallabies are marsupials native to Australia and hop from place to place. The joeys each currently weigh about 2 12 pounds. They can weigh up to 60 pounds and reach a height of about 3 feet when fully grown, Adkesson said.

In the wild, wallabies inhabit coastal regions, woodlands and grasslands in Australia. The population is not currently endangered, according to zoo staff. But they are sometimes killed as an “agricultural pest” or hunted for their meat.

Brookfield’s wallabies — the zoo has a total of 29 — can be found in the Australia section and in the Wild Encounters area.