The Bronx Zoo is working to reunite a swamp wallaby named Howie with others of his kind after he was rescued from the exotic pet trade. In a PopCulture.com exclusive preview of Animal Planet's all-new The Zoo Saturday, Jim Breheny, Director of the Bronx Zoo, visits the little wallaby after Howie was turned in by a man who bought the wallaby for his girlfriend before learning a New York City apartment is no place for the Australian native.
"When we researched who else had swamp wallabies, we were surprised to find out that there's only one zoo in the country that has a family group, and that's the Wildlife World Zoo in Arizona," Breheny says of the plans for Howie to find more of his kind. "They're anxious to get him so as soon as the paperwork is complete Howie will be on a plane to Arizona."
While Howie seems to be enjoying his new surroundings, chowing down on some corn, Breheny notes just how lucky he is to have emerged from the pet trade relatively unscathed. "You know, he really is a pretty animal," he notes. "I mean it's so unusual for a wallaby that comes out of the pet trade to be intact and not neutered."
Breheny continues of Howie's happy ending, "This is a really good situation 'cause the Wildlife World Zoo is gonna get an animal that's gonna help them sustain a healthy population of swamp wallabies and Howie's gonna get to go to a place where he's gonna live with other animals of his own kind and be in a social situation. It's the best possible ending for him. You know, this worked out okay for him but I mean this guy could of ended up in a really bad situation. I'm glad that whoever turned him in did so responsibly."
With series like Tiger King opening up the world of the exotic pet trade to the broader public, Breheny wants people to know that dabbling in the exotic pet trade isn't for rookies. "I hope what people take away from this is that they need to be really thoughtful before they acquire any pet, but especially with an exotic animal," he says. "The reality is the average person just cannot provide for what an exotic animal needs to live and to be happy."
For the conclusion of Howie's story, don't miss an all-new episode of The Zoo, airing on Animal Planet Saturday, April 25 at 9 p.m. ET. For a daily fix of the Bronx Zoo animals, the zoo has newly-launched live cams, through which people can stay up-to-date on the animals during certain hours of the day. Click here to watch.