Celebrate Wombat Day at Rockhampton Zoo

Published on 20 October 2021

Zoo Keeper Kate and Cr Rutherford with Donna.jpg

This Friday marks World Wombat Day, and Rockhampton Zoo is encouraging residents to pay a visit to the beautiful bulldozers of the bush.

Councillor for Parks, Sport and Public Spaces, Cherie Rutherford, said the zoo is home to six Southern Hairy Nosed Wombats.

“Recognition days the likes of this one are a really great opportunity to shine light on our animals as well as the amazing work our keepers carry out,” Cr Rutherford said.

“While the Southern Hairy Nosed Wombats aren’t critically endangered like the Northern Hairy Nosed Wombats, they are near threatened.

“For this reason, when you visit the zoo, you will spot the purpose built Wombat Research Centre at the back on the wombat enclosure.

“Over the years, staff have carried out or supported special non-invasive research programs focused on better understanding the mammals – such as habits, food preferences, and how to provide the highest quality of care.”

Cr Rutherford said that four of the six wombats reside here, with the well-known Donna and Bruce residing in the main viewing enclosure.

“Both Donna and Bruce were born in the wild and were brought to the zoo after sustaining injuries,” Cr Rutherford said.

“We suspect Donna was hit by a car given the injuries to her hips and her spine.

“She wouldn’t have been able to escape from predators given her injuries so she was rescued and brought to the zoo in 2001.

“She is in better health nowadays but still walks with quite a waddle.

“Bruce has a similar story to Donna – he was also a rescue wombat. He was brought to the zoo when it was discovered he had very limited vision. 

“When they aren’t sleeping, you can often spot them digging about, grazing and eating plenty of grass.”

Donna and Bruce, along with all animals of the Zoo, can be visited between 10am and 4pm each day. Entry to the Zoo is free.

Rockhampton Zoo is owned and operated by Rockhampton Regional Council.


Fast facts:

Wombats are the closest genetic relative of the koala and they share some similar traits. They both have rear opening pouches and a large bony plate across their rump. 

Also similar to the koala, they sleep a large portion of the day – for wombats it’s about 18 to 22 hours.

There are three species of wombat in Australia – the Southern Hairy Nose Wombat, the Common Wombat, and the Northern Hairy Nose Wombat – which is critically endangered.