In the late fall of 2008, a little 3-year-old wallaby named Wendell captured the hearts of Ottawa residents after he disappeared from his enclosure at his home at Saunders Country Critters. A fierce storm brought down a tree that crumpled his enclosure fencing. His disappearance began a search that brought out many volunteers, who spent several weeks scouring the area for the wayward wallaby. The story ended sadly when Wendell was found dead in a farmer’s field a few kilometers from his home. His death was reported in the national media.
This past weekend, Saunders Country Critters remembered Wendell and thanked the volunteers who helped search for him. In was also a day to welcome two new wallabies and introduce them to an adoring public. Cohen, pictured in the two photos above, was born at Saunders, just like Wendell. Now about 3 1/2 months old, he is not yet able to get around on is own and will be mobile in a few weeks. He was recently removed from his mother’s pouch because wallabies that are destined to live in captivity live longer, less-stressful lives if they become habituated to human contact at a young age. He has a special bag that mimics his mother’s pouch and is bottle-fed on kangaroo milk, imported from Australia. Once weaned, wallabies eat a diet similar to that of rabbits. His mom’s protective instincts that would come into play when he left her pouch had not yet kicked in, minimizing the trauma of seperation. Cohen showed every sign of being a relaxed and pampered baby.
The star of the day, however, was another baby, an albino cutie named Wendell’s Angel, in remembrance of Wendell. Angel is about 7 months old and is slowly being introduced to the other Saunders wallabies. By late in the afternoon, she had made several public appearances and was content to remain in her wallaby snugglie. She swiveled her head about, taking in the sights and enjoying her many admirers.