MANHATTAN (KSNT) – Sunset Zoo in Manhattan announced the birth of two baby Wallabies Thursday. One of the baby Wallabies stuck its head out of its mother’s pouch and zookeepers discovered the joey was an albino. The babies were born this summer.
The baby was named “Bruny” after an island off Tasmania in Australia where a colony of some 200 albino Wallabies lives.
Wallabies are a species of miniature Kangaroo native to Australia. Sunset Zoo has three adult Wallabies in addition to the two joeys who live in the Australian Walkabout exhibit. If they are born in the wild they usually will not survive because they are so easily spotted by predators. Bruny Island in Australia doesn’t have any natural predators, allowing the albino colony to flourish.
Sunset Zoo Marketing Director Melissa Kirkland described the birth as “rare” and said the zoo was excited to see the two babies together. The zoo has never had two baby Wallabies at the same time.
Albinos frequently have health problems, according to Sunset Zoo Head Keeper Savannah Brethauer, such as poor vision, sun sensitivity, cancers, and other diseases. Sunset Zoo’s albino joey is all white with pink eyes and appears to be healthy so far, Brethauer said.
Bruny began emerging from its mother Jeri’s pouch in late September, allowing zoo visitors to get a better look. Keepers haven’t determined whether the joey is male or female.
Brethauer said staff believes that Bruny was born in December of 2020 and started peeking out of the pouch in July. The other joey, which has a normal grey-brownish color, was named Arlo, emerged before Bruny.
“It’s really nice getting to see their personalities now that they are fully out of the pouch,” said their Keeper, Amelia Jerome. “We have never had two joeys at the same time so it will be fun to see them play and interact with each other.”
Bruny is still nursing occasionally from its mother and also eats leaves, lettuce, kangaroo chow, and some apple and sweet potato.
Visitors to Sunset Zoo can see Bruny and its mother, the other joey Arlo, and his mother Dolly, and their father Irwin, at the Australian Walkabout area of the Zoo.