YVETTE Fenning thought Holly, the ukulele-playing chimp, would get all the attention, but it was the walking wombats that sent the zoo viral.

The Rockhampton Zoo has been walking six of their resident marsupials for more than a year now, placing them in large dog harnesses and leading them around the grounds.

After posting about the furry fitness regime on their Facebook page, it went global within days.

"The London Telegraph did a phone interview and the council has been dealing with France and Germany," Ms Fenning said.

"There are three wombat species in Australia and one of them is the most endangered species on the planet so any attention we can get for them is fantastic."

The northern hairy-nosed wombat is considered to be critically endangered with less than 200 left in the wild, and none in captivity.

Originally designed for Donna the wombat as a way to help her exercise in spite of her dodgy hip, the other wombats soon wanted to join in.

"It started last winter as a weight loss program for one of the heavier wombats but they all enjoyed it so much we kept doing it," Ms Fenning said.

"There are other zoos that do it but most others have wombats that were born in captivity, ours came as rescues from the wild.

"I love their temperament. These ones blow me away that they were wild caught."

Donna still struggles with her waistline, but Katie has embraced her new exercise sessions.

The young female can walk up to 1km during her leash time.

"They have tracked wild wombats and they move around 170m in a 24-hour period," Ms Fenning said.

"Donna might only walk 100m when we walk her but Katie just keeps going."

You can visit Donna, Katie and the rest of the Rockhampton wombat crew at the Rockhampton Zoo.

Learn more:

  • One of Australia's most beloved native animals, the wombat is an interesting creature.
  • Here are some fun facts:
  • They weren't noticed by European settlers for 10 years
  • The hairy-nosed wombat cannot climb
  • Wombats can run up to 40kmh
  • Common wombats visit each other in their burrows
  • They can snore when sleeping

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