San José, CA – Another Parma wallaby joey is regularly starting to peek their head out of its mother’s pouch at Happy Hollow Park & Zoo. The joey is the twenty-sixth Parma wallaby born at San Jose’s zoo since 1994. Another joey, whose gender will be revealed after its annual spring examination, was born at Happy Hollow in 2018 and is currently on exhibit.
“This sweet little joey has decided to start exploring life outside the pouch,” says Kevin Hertell, Happy Hollow Zoo Manager. “It will be another month or so before we see the little one hopping around on their own, but in the meantime we are seeing more of a very cute little head.”
Parma wallabies are smaller than a jellybean at birth, and must climb their way up into their mother’s pouch after birth. The normal gestation period for these small macropods is only thirty-five days, but the small joeys do not start appearing outside the pouch until months after birth.
Parma wallabies are the smallest member of the genus Macropus, which includes all kangaroos and wallabies. Adults weigh 7 to 12 pounds and are around 18-20 inches tall, only one-tenth the height of the tallest macropod, the red kangaroo.
“Happy Hollow is an important contributor to the survival of this rare species,” says Hertell. Natives of Australia, Parma wallabies were once thought to be extinct until a small population was discovered in 1967 on a small island near New Zealand. The Parma wallaby was listed as an endangered species by the U.S. Department of Fish & Wildlife in 1970.
Happy Hollow participates in co-operative breeding programs, known as a Species Survival Plans which is coordinated through the Association of Zoos and Aquariums to protect and increase populations of threatened or endangered species.
Over the last twenty-five years, several joeys born at Happy Hollow have made their way to zoos across the United States and even abroad. Happy Hollow is currently home to two adult Parma wallabies, one juvenile and the new addition brings Happy Hollow’s count to four.
For the health and safety of this new addition, visitors are reminded to be respectful and remember that the new joey may not be visible from inside the pouch, especially on colder days. The best way to learn and see animals is through calm, quiet observation, attending the daily animal meet-and-greets, and sharing questions with zoo staff.