Perth Zoo

Perth Zoo Releases Numbats at Wildlife Sanctuary

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On December 6, ten of the nineteen Numbats, born this year at Perth Zoo, were fitted with radio collars and released into the wild of Australia’s second largest feral cat-free area.

The eleven-month-old Numbats, born under a collaborative breeding program between Perth Zoo and Parks and Wildlife Service, were released at Mt. Gibson Sanctuary managed by the Australian Wildlife Conservancy in WA’s mid-west.

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2_22339445_10155240101006715_5301662608072619652_oPhoto Credits: Alex Asbury "The Photo Poet" (Images: 1-3,5) / Perth Zoo (Image: 4) 

Prior to the release, Perth Zoo Keeper, Jessica Morrison, said, “The release of our Numbats to the wild is the culmination of a lot of hard work, but the ultimate goal of our breeding program, the only one in the world for this endangered species.”

“It is particularly exciting to release them at Mt Gibson Sanctuary as Perth Zoo’s Wildlife Conservation Action fundraising program helped fund the predator proof fence, and the removal of feral cats and foxes is key to the survival of the Numbat which have been decimated by introduced predators.”

“We released our first Zoo-born Numbats to the same area last year, and they’ve since had offspring! We hope this year’s wild recruits will follow in their footsteps and help build a robust insurance population against extinction.”

Perth Zoo and Parks and Wildlife Service established the Numbat breeding program in 1987, studying and perfecting the species’ reproductive biology over the next five years. The first successful breeding at Perth Zoo was in 1993. Since then more than 200 individuals have been released to the wild which has helped re-establish four populations within their former range.

In preparation for their life in the wild, the Numbats were fitted with radio collars by Dr. Tony Friend from Parks and Wildlife Service. “Radio tracking will enable researchers to learn more about the Numbats’ movements and enable field staff to determine if female Numbats have reproduced at the completion of the mating season,” he said.

Funding for the radio collars was generously provided by the community group, “Project Numbat”.

The Numbat (Myrmecobius fasciatus) is a marsupial native to Western Australia and recently re-introduced to South Australia. Its diet consists almost exclusively of termites.

The Numbat is Western Australia’s mammal emblem and is listed as “Endangered” by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. Approximately 1,000 Numbats remain in the wild.

Perth Zoo is committed to native species conservation, with dedicated breeding facilities located behind the scenes at the Zoo. This year, the 4,000th animal bred or reared at the Zoo was released into the wild. Species currently being bred for release at the Zoo to fight extinction include: Numbat, Dibbler, Western Swamp Tortoise and rare frogs found only in the Margaret River region.

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Perth Zoo Celebrates Birth of First Binturong Cubs

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Perth Zoo is celebrating the birth of the first Binturong cubs in the Zoo’s 119-year history.

Two cubs, a male and a female, were born September 6 to mother, Selasa, and father, Rabu. The parents arrived at the Zoo from Singapore Zoological Gardens, in 2016, to establish a Perth Zoo Binturong family.

Perth Zoo Keeper, Marty Boland, said, “It’s very exciting to welcome two rare Binturong cubs, less than 12 months after their parent’s arrival in Australia.”

“Binturongs are capable of delaying their pregnancy after mating until they feel the environmental conditions are favourable. So, it’s great to see that Selasa is feeling secure and content here in WA!”

“She is a first time Mum, but has been lovingly tending to her offspring in the nest box and also allowing us to photograph the cubs’ progression. She’s even trusted us to handle her cubs to quickly weigh them.”

“They tip the scales just over one kilogram, a good weight for Binturong infants,” said Marty.

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4_Yawning 18 Sept 17Photo Credits: Perth Zoo

The new arrivals recently opened their eyes, and they are beginning to take in the world around them. Zoo Keepers expect they will start exploring their exhibit in coming weeks and become more visible to the public.

Marty continued, “Visitors who are unsure of where to catch a glimpse of the Binturong family may smell them first. They are famous for their strong odor, which is often likened to popcorn!”

The Binturong (Arctictis binturong), also known as a Bearcat, is a viverrid that is native to South and Southeast Asia.

Binturongs are omnivorous, feeding on small mammals, birds, fish, earthworms, insects and fruits.

The estrous period of the Binturong is 81 days, with a gestation of 91 days. The average age of sexual maturation is 30.4 months for females and 27.7 months for males. The Binturong is one of approximately 100 species of mammal believed by many experts to be capable of embryonic diapause, or delayed implantation, which allows the female of the species to time parturition to coincide with favorable environmental conditions. Typical litters consist of two offspring, but up to six may occur.

It is uncommon in much of its range, and has been assessed and classified as “Vulnerable” on the IUCN Red List due to a declining population trend that is estimated at more than 30% over the last three decades. The main threat to the species is severe destruction of habitats in their native parts of the world.

Those wanting to help save Binturong from extinction are encouraged to “adopt” one of Perth Zoo’s cubs. Zoo adoption packages ensure more funds are poured into giving wildlife a chance of survival. More information can be found at: www.perthzoo.com.au

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Perth Zoo is Saving Numbats and Dibblers From Extinction

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In 1936, Australia said farewell to the very last Tasmanian Tiger, also known as the Thylacine. The Perth Zoo is committed to preventing the endangered Numbat and Dibbler, two marsupials found only in Australia, from facing the same fate.

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AlexAsbury_numbatjoey_5999WEBPhoto Credit: Alex Asbury

Perth Zoo’s Native Species Breeding Program (NSBP), in partnership with other organizations, has bred and released more than 220 Numbats and more than 800 Dibblers into the wild. This spring there has been a flurry of furry activity from 22 Numbat joeys, and 53 Dibbler joeys!

In June this year, three Dibbler mothers, with 21 pouch young between them, were released. The NSBP’s goal is to repopulate these species in their natural habitats. Perth Zoo is the only zoo in the world breeding both of these rare species.

The Numbat, a striped, bushy-tailed relative of the extinct Tasmanian Tiger, is so rare that there are less than 1,000 of them remaining in the wild.

Dibblers, tiny mouse-like carnivorous marsupials, were thought to be extinct for more than 50 years until a chance rediscovery in 1967.

As keepers prepare to release the joeys, they must first wean the Dibbler young from their mothers and prepare enough termite custard to meet the Numbats’ appetite for 20,000 termites a day.

The main threats facing both animals in the wild include habitat loss and introduced predators such as feral cats and foxes. Australia’s zoos, including the Perth Zoo, government agencies, and private groups are determined to protect Australia’s unique wild heritage.

See more photos below.

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Painted Dog Pups Get Names - and Their First Checkup

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Eleven endangered African Painted Dog puppies were given their first hands-on health check following their birth in April at Perth Zoo. The pups also received their names!

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The puppies were each individually medically assessed, weighed, vaccinated just like domestic Dogs and their sex determined by two teams of veterinarians who worked efficiently to reunite them with their protective parents quickly.

Senior Zoo Keeper Becky Thomasson said, “Since their birth in April, we’ve taken a hands-off approach to allow the pack to develop as they would naturally in the wild, but it is important to give each of the new arrivals a veterinary examination.”

Thomasson said the exam revealed that the pack includes seven females and four males. “Importantly they were all in excellent shape, with one tipping the scales over six kilograms [13 pounds], a very healthy weight for a 12 week old African Painted Dog pup!”

The zoo held a naming contest for the pups, and chose these names suggested by fans: Aisha, Baraka, Chikondi, Kamali, Muhumhi, Onika, Skabenga, Tokwe, Tamba, Umfazi, and Zuberi

The eleven puppies were the result of matchmaking a Perth Zoo-born adult female with a male from Altina Wildlife Park, introducing a new bloodline into the regional breeding program.

“Mother Kisuri and father Hasani have been perfect first time parents. They let the pups eat first, but also discipline them, setting the boundaries when required.”

“With less than 6,000 of these Dogs in the wild, there is a real risk of this species going extinct in our lifetime,” said Thomasson. “Zoo breeding programs have never been more important and the birth of these eleven puppies helps put their species a step further away from extinction.”

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Echidna Puggle Earns its Spikes

Echidnapuggle_Australia’s Perth Zoo has unveiled a spiky new addition: a Short-Beaked Echidna puggle.  

Hatched in September last year, this is the second offspring for parents Chindi and Nyingarn, who were the world’s first zoo-born Echidnas to successfully breed in 2015.  The first and second photos show the puggle at 69 days old.  The remaining photos show the puggle at about six months old, looking more like a spiky adult Echidna.

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PleaseCreditAlexAsbury_1Photo Credit:  Perth Zoo (1,2); Alex Asbury (3,4,5)

The puggle, as baby Echidnas are called, is still growing its protective covering of spines and will remain off display in its nursery burrow for a few more months.

Weighing around 3.5 pounds, the puggle is the 10th Echidna since 2007 to successfully hatch at Perth Zoo.  Perth Zoo is considered an expert in Echidna breeding, having significantly advanced global reproductive knowledge of these unusual egg- laying mammals.

Zoo keeper Katie Snushall said, “This species is notoriously difficult to breed, so to have not just one, but two puggles from zoo-born parents; and in consecutive years is a significant achievement.”

Known as monotremes, Echidnas and Platypus are the only mammals that lay eggs. These species are found only in Australia and New Guinea.

It takes about 10 days for a baby Echidna to hatch from the egg. It is then carried by its mother in a temporary pouch for the first two months until its spikes start to emerge, at which point the mother constructs a nursery burrow and places the puggle safely inside, returning only every two to six days to feed it.

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Endangered Tree Kangaroo Joey Peeks Out of Pouch

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Perth Zoo welcomed an endangered Goodfellow’s Tree Kangaroo joey, the second to be born at the zoo since 1980.

Born the size of a jellybean in July 2016, the male joey, named Haroli, is just starting to become noticeable to zoo guests.  This successful birth follows the arrival of Mian, the first Goodfellow's Tree Kangaroo joey born at the zoo in 36 years, whom you met on ZooBorns last summer.  Both joeys are important contributions to the World Zoo Association global breeding program for this rare species. 

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Photo Credit:  Perth Zoo

Zoo keeper Kerry Pickles said, “Haroli and Mian are half-brothers, both fathered by Huli who came to Perth Zoo from Queensland in 2015 after being identified as the best genetic match for the breeding program.”

 “Mother Doba is a first-time mum and is very cautious with her joey who has been keeping his head out of the pouch more frequently,” said Kerry. “Tree Kangaroos remain in their mother’s pouches for approximately six to eight months before testing out their wobbly arboreal legs.”

Native to Papua New Guinea, Goodfellow’s Tree Kangaroos are so endangered that zoos around the world have been working together to coordinate breeding with the aim of reversing their decline.

“Young Haroli is only the 16th male Goodfellow’s Tree Kangaroo to be born as part of the global program,” said Kerry.

“Their genetics are vitally important once they reach sexual maturity. Mian is coming of age, so there are already plans in progress for him to go to the UK to be paired with a female and help provide an insurance against extinction for his wild counterparts.”

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Orphaned Numbat Gets Expert Care

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Found abandoned and separated from his mother, Frankie the orphaned Numbat is receiving expert care from keepers at Australia’s Perth Zoo.

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Photo Credit:  Perth Zoo

Estimated to be about six to seven months old, Frankie is too young to survive on his own. Keepers have been working around the clock, feeding this baby Numbat more than five times a day.  He eagerly laps up milk from a tiny bowl.  He eats well and is gaining strength every day.

Frankie is so small that he fits right into his keepers’ hands.  They describe him as exceptionally relaxed and confident for a wild Numbat. 

This little orphan was brought to the zoo by a Project Numbat, community group dedicated to saving this endangered species.  The Perth Zoo has the world’s only Numbat breeding program.

Numbats are marsupials – after birth, their young nurse and develop inside the mothers’ pouch.  Adults weigh about one to two pounds and feed exclusively on termites.  They are currently found in only a few small colonies in Western Australia.  Only about 1,000 Numbats are believed to survive in the wild.


Meet Mian, the Endangered Tree Kangaroo Joey

Mian-8Perth Zoo is celebrating the birth of an endangered Goodfellow’s Tree Kangaroo joey, the first to be born there in 36 years.

The male joey, which was born the size of a jellybean eight months ago, is now out of his mother’s pouch.  The joey is named Mian after a province in Papua New Guinea, the native home of the species. 

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The joey’s birth is the result of successful matchmaking between mother Kaluli and father Huli, who were identified as the best genetic match. Mian is one of only 15 males in the global species management program, so his genetics will be highly valuable when he reaches breeding age. 

Perth Zoo keepers were able to keep a close eye on the joey’s development because they trained Kaluli to have her pouch checked.

Keepers used a small camera to peer inside the pouch and were able to see when Mian’s toenails developed, when his eyes first opened, and when he first grew fur, all without disturbing Kaluli.  The information gained is extremely valuable for managing the species.

Perth Zoo partners with the Tenkile Conservation Alliance in the mountains of Papua New Guinea to safeguard Tree Kangaroos in the wild.


Panda Pair Goes to the Vet

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Two seven-week-old endangered Red Panda cubs had their first visit to the veterinarian at Australia’s Perth Zoo.

Though the zoo staff has kept a watchful eye on the cubs since their December 8 birth, this is the first time the red pandas received a hands-on health check.  During the exam, the cubs got a quick health assessment, then had their body condition, eyes, teeth, ears, and weight checked by the veterinary staff. 

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Panda-cubs-8Photo Credit:  Perth Zoo

The Red Pandas are a part of the Global Species Management Program, where zoos around the world actively collaborate to prevent the species from becoming extinct.  Including the two new arrivals, 18 cubs have been successfully reared at Perth Zoo since 1997. 

In the next few weeks, the Red Panda cubs will start venturing out of the nest box.  Until now, they’ve been in the nest box with their mother, Anusha.   “Anusha is doing a fantastic job rearing her cubs. She’s being really protective and attentive, just what we want to see as she cares for her young who are still tucked up in their nestbox,” said Senior Keeper Becky Thomasson.

Red Pandas, which range across the Himalayan mountains and foothills of northern India, China, Nepal and Bhutan, are listed as Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. It is uncertain how many Red Pandas remain in the wild today, but estimates suggest numbers may be as low as 2,500 individuals.

Red Pandas are threatened by illegal hunting and deforestation of their wild habitat.  Remaining populations are fast becoming fragmented and isolated from each other.

 


Meerkat Trio Born At Perth Zoo

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Three Slender-tailed Meerkat kits are out of the den at Australia’s Perth Zoo!   Born in September to mom Tilly, the kits have recently opened their eyes and started exploring their habitat.

Tilly is an experienced mother – this is her third litter in the past 12 months.

Meerkat kits grow quickly, and the kits will soon start to eat insects, meat, and vegetables like the adults.  In just a few months, they will be the same size as their parents.

Native to southern Africa, Meerkats are extremely social.  Living in groups of up to 30 individuals, they forage, hunt, and care for their young as a group.  Like many social animals, they have a wide vocal repertoire to communicate alarm, danger, and contentment.  One Meerkat is often on sentry duty, standing erect at the burrow entrance on watch for predators and threats.

Meerkats are plentiful in the wild and not under significant threat. 

Photo Credit:  Perth Zoo