A NEW wallaby walkthrough exhibit has been launched at a popular Hampshire zoo.

Marwell Zoo has spent £30,000 on a new habit for its red-necked wallabies, and guests can walk through it side-by-side with the animals.

The revamped Wallaby Walkthrough features a small creek, pool, stream and pond as well as a natural seating area so guests can relax surrounded by wildlife.

New Forest Post:

Helen Murphy, Marwell Zoo’s Plants and Landscapes Supervisor, said: “Our aim was to create an immersive landscape for both our guests and the animals, creating a habitat in which the animals could thrive and bring out more of their natural behaviours.

“We’ve almost doubled the area available to the wallabies and created an area where guests can sit, watch the animals and reflect rather than it being a traditional walkthrough experience.

"I love how peaceful the enclosure feels, especially when sitting in the dwell area looking back over the pond, watching the dragonflies and damselflies flitting around.

New Forest Post:

"Overnight the area turned into a real haven for wildlife, which is wonderful to see.”

The project was made possible due to a legacy donation but transforming the area was no easy task.

Helen added: "With one of the wettest winters in over 20 years and then a global pandemic we experienced one or two delays.

New Forest Post:

"Following our return from lockdown and furlough, with a much reduced landscapes team, our colleagues across the zoo - even our chief executive James Cretney, mucked in with their gardening gloves, shovels and wheelbarrows.”

The team moved around 250 tonnes of soil, 80 tonnes of rock and gravel plus 40 tonnes of sand – mostly by hand as the enclosure was too wet to safely use machinery.