Park welcomes rare-coloured resident

June 23, 2022 BY

Golden: Manuka was named by Ballarat Wildlife Park’s head mammal keeper Cassandra Hancock. Photos: TIM BOTTAMS

EIGHT months after her birth, one of Ballarat Wildlife Park’s latest inhabitants is ready to meet its patrons.

Manuka is the newest member of the park’s family of southern hairy-nosed wombats, and stepped out from her shelter earlier this month.

Although she normally sticks close to her mother Nulai, head mammal keeper Cassandra Hancock said Manuka is already starting to branch out on her own.

“Just last week, she started to come and wander around by herself. We’ve known for a while that she was in there but now she’s out and wanting to come see everybody,” she said.

“Her blonde, golden colour is pretty rare as well for wombats. Apart from her grandmother and sister I’ve never seen any others with similar hair.

“Her sister Honey Bun is 30 kilos and turning two next week and she looked exactly the same when she was her born.”

Manuka was born late last year.

Manuka joins the park’s wombat family alongside her mother and sister, her father Willy and brother Piggy.

Ms Hancock chose the name Manuka, a type of honey, in connection to her older sister’s name.

Weighing about two kilograms, Manuka spends her time napping, exploring and digging holes with Nulai.

With two golden wombats now living in the park, Ms Hancock said Manuka is a welcome addition.

“Everyone’s fallen in love with her already, she’s so cute. I think everyone’s very surprised to have her the same colour as Honey Bun as well,” she said.

“It’s nice having Honey being as big as she is and then having the little one that’s a mini version of her is really cool.”