This week, we would like to introduce you to Nurra, our Bennett's wallaby.
Nurra was named in honor of our Adventure Camp program, as her name means “camp” in Aborigine. If you have ever wondered how we decide on the names of our animal ambassadors, they often refer to something about that animal. It could be something we observed here at the park, or something that pertains to their adaptations or habitats in the natural environment. Their name is usually in the native language of the area they are naturally found. Our resident camp counselors help Nurra's keepers by assisting with cleaning her habitat and preparing her food. Their camp experience also allows them a chance to hold her and have their pictures taken with her.
Wallabies, like their larger kangaroo relatives, are indigenous to Australia and Tasmania. They use their long tails for balance, and strong legs for jumping. They are nocturnal herbivores, spending a lot of time browsing for grass and plants. They use their sharp front teeth for cutting grasses, and their large, flat molars for grinding their food.
Wallabies usually live alone, except for females and their offspring. They are a marsupial, which means that after the baby, or joey, is born, it continues to develop inside the mother's pouch for up to an additional eight months.
Wallaby mothers have the ability to conceive while they are still caring for a joey in their pouch, but the embryo will not start to develop until the older joey has left the pouch.
The mother wallaby is able to produce two different kids of milk, a higher fat and energy rich milk for her older joey, and a less energy rich milk for the newborn still in her pouch. Joeys will usually separate from their mothers after about one year.
Not only does SeaWorld take care of Nurra, we also care for her distant relatives. In 2009, Victoria, Australia experienced an unusually strong drought coupled with a severe heat wave. This precipitated major brushfires, devastating southern Australia, its communities, and natural spaces.
The SeaWorld Busch Gardens Conservation Fund awarded emergency grants to places like the Minton Farm Animal Rescue Center, to purchase food, bedding, and medical supplies for the distressed animals, including wallabies, in their care.
You can visit Nurra at the Animal Connections Reservation Center at the front of the park as she visits with guests throughout the day. She also makes regular appearances with our day and resident campers, and tour guests. Stop by and say hello!