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Male wallaby dies at Karachi zoo

Mother wallaby sits with her baby in their enclosure at Karachi Zoo. — Photo by White Star

KARACHI: The Karachi Zoological Gardens lost a wallaby when a dust storm hit the city last Saturday, zoo officials told Dawn on Tuesday.

They said the zoo was now left with its female mate and their baby, about seven months old.

“The young male species was found dead in the morning in the enclosure’s retiring section. The animal was perfectly healthy and there could be no other cause of the death than shock. This has been proven by a post-mortem examination, too,” said senior vet Dr Kazim Hussain, who is currently working as the zoo’s additional director.

Unlike other animals that developed a friendly relationship with the zoo keeper over a period of time, wallabies, according to Dr Hussain, were shy animals and very much susceptible to stress. Though the pair had spent more than five years at the zoo, they were still not comfortable with their keeper, he said.

“It’s tragic. They had successfully bred and it was a delight to see the whole family grow,” Dr Hussain said.

There were about 30 species of wallabies in the world and those at the zoo belonged to the Bennett’s wallaby family, he said, adding that earlier the zoo had the pretty-faced wallabies, which reproduced a number of times.

Closely related to kangaroos but smaller in size, wallabies are widely distributed across Australia and neighbouring islands. Four species in this family have already gone extinct.

Many are endangered while others are considered vulnerable.