Brookfield Zoo Chicago welcomes koalas for first time in its 90-year history

Jessica D'Onofrio Image
Tuesday, June 18, 2024
Brookfield Zoo Chicago welcomes 2 koalas
On Tuesday, the two-year-old marsupials named Brumby and Willum were ready to meet the public.

BROOKFIELD, Ill. (WLS) -- For the first time in Brookfield Zoo Chicago's history, koalas will be on display in the west suburbs.

Two cuddly koalas arrived to the zoo eight days ago and have been acclimating to their new home at the zoo's Hamill Family Play Zoo.

On Tuesday, the two-year-old marsupials named Brumby and Willum were ready to meet the public.

Zoo members waited in long lines to see them.

"We've been watching the whole thing get built so this is the finale. The icing on the cake," zoo member Maryann Iovinelli said.

The koalas are visiting from the San Diego Zoo, they will be in town for two years.

"They are definitely not bears. They are closer related to kangaroos and wombats," Brookfield zoo Chicago Director of Animal Care and Conservation Mark Wanner


The koala's arrival is an important part of the zoo's commitment to species conservation and environmental education, Wanner said.

"Koalas in the wild face several challenges. One is climate change and habitat destruction which is happening all over the world," Wanner said.

Brookfield Zoo Chicago is one of only 11 accredited zoological facilities in North America where the public can see them.

"They're not an animal that you see a lot in person," President and CEO Brookfield Zoo Chicago Dr. Mike Adkesson said. "They're one that everybody knows and recognizes but they're just not one that a lot of people really get a chance to see in person."

Twice a week the zoo will receive a delivery of eucalyptus leaves for Brumby and Willum.

"This is a once in a lifetime,I don't know, I just love the zoo," Zoo Member Nancy Nobile said. "It's crazy, crazy that they're here and so cute."

The exhibit is included with a general admission ticket. It features indoor and outdoor habitats, which has plenty of eucalyptus leaves.

The Brookfield Zoo Chicago is open every day from 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.

To get tickets to the zoo, click here.