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Australian animals visit Utah promoting new San Diego Zoo exhibit

Published: Saturday, Aug. 1 2015 2:06 a.m. MDT

Rick Schwartz holds two kookaburra in Salt Lake City on Friday, May 10, 2013. The birds will be at Fashion Place Mall Saturday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., along with a red kangaroo, two blue-tongued skinks, a Moluccan cockatoo and a cane toad. (Whitney Evans, Deseret News) Rick Schwartz holds two kookaburra in Salt Lake City on Friday, May 10, 2013. The birds will be at Fashion Place Mall Saturday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., along with a red kangaroo, two blue-tongued skinks, a Moluccan cockatoo and a cane toad. (Whitney Evans, Deseret News)

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.

Rick Schwartz, San Diego Zoo ambassador, and Diesel, a red kangaroo, in Salt Lake City Friday, May 10, 2013. Diesel, Schwartz and a few of their Australian animal friends will be at Fashion Place Mall on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. to promote San Diego Zoo's new Australian Outback exhibit. (Whitney Evans, Deseret News) Rick Schwartz, San Diego Zoo ambassador, and Diesel, a red kangaroo, in Salt Lake City Friday, May 10, 2013. Diesel, Schwartz and a few of their Australian animal friends will be at Fashion Place Mall on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. to promote San Diego Zoo's new Australian Outback exhibit. (Whitney Evans, Deseret News)

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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