Tag Archives: Brookfield Zoo

Koalas are coming to Brookfield Zoo for the first time ever!

Visitor’s to the Brookfield Zoo in suburban Chicago will soon be able to say “G’day” to a couple of two-year-old koalas.

For the first time in the Zoo’s 90-year history, two koalas — Brumby and Willum — will “take up residency” at the Zoo, beginning Memorial Day weekend, a press release said.

The Zoo is one of only 11 accredited zoological facilities in North America where the public can “see and experience” the animals, the release added.

“This year, as we celebrate our 90th anniversary, we are so excited to introduce our guests to another charismatic species from the land “down under,” Mark Wanner, associate vice president of animal care and conservation for the Zoo said in the release.

The release goes on to say that the Zoo in the 1970s purchased 16,000 acres of land in South Australia, named Brookfield Conversation Park.

“Brookfield Zoo Chicago has a long successful history with Australian animals in its care as well as being involved in conservation efforts on the continent,” Wanner’s statement continued, noting the Zoo has an “Australia House.”

The Zoo initially announced the arrival of Brumby and Willum in February Facebook post, noting that the two will call the Hamill Family Play Zoo home.

Admission to the habitat is included with Zoo admission, the post went on to say. It added that area will feature indoor and outdoor spaces that will allow guests to observe the “charismatic marsupials.”

And no, they are not bears.

“Although many refer to koalas as bears, there is no relation,” the release said. “According to several sources, the misnomer occurred when English-speaking settlers observed koalas in Australia and thought the animal resembled a small bear.”

According to the release, koalas are listed as a “vulnerable” species by the International Union for Conservation and Nature (IUCN) in Australia. The species face several threats, the Zoo says, including deforestation, fragmentation of its habitat for development, bushfires, disease, and drought.

Zoo guests will be able to see the koalas — sleeping or not — starting May 24, according to officials.

The koalas join several other recent animal announcements from the zoo. Earlier this month, “Georgie,” an 11-year-old blind and once-stranded seal now at Brookfield recently gave birth to nearly 35-pound male pup. Last year, the zoo welcomed a pair of orphaned 10-month old bears from Alaska. It also welcomed flamingo chicks for the first time since 1997.

And, beginning in March, the zoo will roll out a 130-foot Anniversary Ferris wheel to mark its 90th birthday