Our brand new Australasian Zone is due to open on Saturday 2nd April, and now it’s the approaching the end of January that doesn’t seem too far away! As you can see from the following pictures, we’ve still got a lot of work to do, but in the meantime some of our new residents have started to arrive – like Sheila!
Sheila is an emu (Dromaius novaehollandiae). Emus are endemic to Australia and are the second largest birds in the world, second only to their cousin the ostrich. Emus can reach up to 6ft/1.8m tall, and when she stands up to her full height, Sheila towers over some of our smaller members of staff! Emus are the national bird of Australia and have played an important role in Australian culture, providing Aborigine tribes with food and clothing for hundred of years.
Emus are members of the flightless bird family, known as ratites. Other ratites include the ostrich, cassowary, rhea and kiwi. Although they can’t fly, they certainly can run! Emus can reach speeds of up to 30mph on their muscular legs – they can also deliver a powerful kick if they feel threatened.
Sheila will be joined by some more emu friends soon, but for now she is living with the red-necked wallabies whilst we spruce up their new accommodation. Like most emus, Sheila is very nosey! She follows her keepers around when they are in her paddock, but thankfully she is also very friendly and loves it when we hand-feed her favourite snack – black crickets!
Don’t forget the Australasian Zone opens on Saturday 2nd April and you can meet Sheila and her emu and wallaby buddies in the flesh!