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Australian animals visit Utah promoting new San Diego Zoo exhibit

Published: Friday, May 10 2013 3:26 p.m. MDT

SALT LAKE CITY — A red kangaroo, kookaburra, blue-tongued skink and other Australian animals housed at the San Diego Zoo will visit Fashion Place Mall Saturday.

Diesel, a red kangaroo, will join other animals from the zoo's newest exhibit, the Conrad Prebys Australian Outback, from 11 a.m to 1 p.m. at the mall.

Salt Lake City is a big market for the San Diego Zoo, so it added the area as a stop on its media tour.

The free event will also feature a Moluccan cockatoo and a cane toad. Families can pose for pictures with the animals and attend an animal presentation by zoo ambassador Rick Schwartz. He will educate families on the impact they have on the animals in the environment.

"It's my goal to connect people with nature and wildlife," Schwartz said.

He hopes to enlighten the public on little things they can do, such as recycle, that will help improve wildlife conditions.

The Australian Outback exhibit — set to open Memorial Day weekend — will house the koalas, skink, kangaroos, wombats, Australian birds, echidna, ringtail possums and other Australian animals. The San Diego Zoo is home to 22 Queensland koalas, the biggest koala colony outside of Australia.

The zoo is a nonprofit organization that focuses on protecting endangered species and reducing the human impact on wildlife.

— Whitney Evans

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