Walkabout Australia makes its debut at San Diego Safari Park - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Walkabout Australia makes its debut at San Diego Safari Park

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SAN DIEGO (NEWS 8) - The San Diego Zoo Safari Park is famous for its expansive habitats featuring African and Asian species. The all-new Walkabout Australia gives park guests a view into a new region of the world with interesting and unique species.

The immersive 3.6-acre Walkabout Australia habitat, representing Australia’s rural landscapes, opened Friday. The Walkabout Australia experience offers the opportunity for up close animal interactions with unique species like kangaroo, wallaby and wombats.  These unique opportunities are similar to experiences offered by zoos in Australia and are a key part of their work to engage local communities in species preservation.

Included in Walkabout are habitats for the southern cassowary and the endangered Matschie's tree kangaroo.  Both are unique and beautiful species threatened by loss of habitat.  Both species are new to the Safari Park and form part of a national effort to create sustainable insurance populations of this species under human care.

Meet Cliff the Tawny Frogmouth owl. With their nocturnal habit and owl-like appearance, tawny frogmouths are often confused with owls, but are actually more closely related to the nightjars. Their feet are weak however, and lack the curved talons of owls.

Photo of Cliff the Tawny Frogmouth owl at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park.

Walkabout Australia takes guests through four different types of Australian habitats: grassland, rain forest, wetlands and desert. Featured animals include western gray kangaroos, red-necked wallabies, brush turkeys, radjah shelducks, freckled ducks, magpie geese, double-wattled cassowaries, Matschie’s tree kangaroos, kookaburras, rose-breasted cockatoos, echidnas, sugar gliders and wombats.

Meet Wally, this particular skink is species of blue-tongued skinks only found in western Australia. Blue-tongued skinks are dominantly omnivores, meaning they eat insects, worms, mice and fruits. They use their tongue to taste and smell. It is a heavily-armored species that can be found a various colors, from dark brown to cream. As a defense mechanism, they can lose their tail and regenerate (sometimes two tails grow back). They camouflage and they use their blue tongue to frighten predatory birds and mammals. They can play dead as well.

Photo of Wally the blue-tongued skink at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park.

A pathway, with no barriers, lead guests through an expansive grassland, home to a large group of Western gray kangaroos and red-necked wallabies. The kangaroo and wallabies may come right up and interact with guests!

Meet Addie! The arid red center of Australia is where you will find this red kangaroo. Living in groups of 10 or more referred to as “mobs” consisting of an adult male, several females and their young “joeys”. Red kangaroos are the largest species of marsupial in the world.

Males are called “Boomers” and females “Blue flyers” due to their bluish gray coloration. Red Kangaroos can jump 6 feet vertically and 30+ feet horizontally.
They are not able to move their back legs independently of one another and must “hop” everywhere.

Photo of Addie the red kangaroo at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park.

Walkabout Australia is included with Safari Park admission and Membership.

For more information, visit their website.

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