'Halawa' the wallaby expected to make full recovery in 2 weeks

(Image: Honolulu Zoo)
(Image: Honolulu Zoo)

HALAWA (HawaiiNewsNow) - Veterinarians at the Honolulu Zoo say that the the wallaby, nicknamed Halawa after the area where he was found, is on track to heal from his eye surgery in about two weeks.

Zoo officials are working with the Department of Land and Natural Resources, who has jurisdiction over the wallaby, and the city to figure out where the wallaby will live long-term once fully recovered.

"I don't think it will be released back into the wild," said Linda Santos, director of the Honolulu Zoo.

Santos cited research that found it is common for male wallabies to be kicked out of the group, and once that happens they can't go back. It would be deadly.

"I think this guy is destined to be in some sort of captive environment," Santos said.

The injured wallaby was captured in Halawa on Friday, and underwent surgery to remove his right eye Monday.

Honolulu Zoo officials said the male wallaby likely injured its eye in a fight with another animal.

Based on its injuries, it's unlikely the wallaby was hit by a car, as was initially reported, the city said.

Zoo veterinarian Dr. Emma Kaiser operated on the wallaby Monday morning. The wallaby will recuperate at the zoo, and could be kept there or taken to another facility.

"Although the Honolulu Zoo is not designated as a refuge for injured animals, our staff was more than willing to help this particular wallaby to ensure its survival," said Zoo Director Linda Santos, in a news release.

The wallaby was captured at the Halawa Correctional Facility, where it sought refuge after getting injured.

The state said over the last 15 years, at least two other wallabies have been injured and undergone rehab at the zoo.

Wallabies are native to Australia, but have been been spotted in the islands.

In 2009, local wildlife experts estimated there was a population of about 40 wallabies on Oahu.

They were said to have formed colonies from Nuuanu to Halawa Valley, and even Kalihi Valley.

This story may be updated.

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