Joy for Joeys on National Threatened Species Day
It was on this day in 1936 that Australia said farewell to the very last Tasmanian Tiger. Behind the scenes of Perth Zoo a new generation of joeys is bringing hope for preventing the endangered Numbat and Dibbler from facing the same fate.
Perth Zoo’s Native Species Breeding Program (NSBP) has been making a positive impact on several West Australian species, including these two mammals.
The Numbat, a bushy-tailed relative of the extinct Tasmanian Tiger, is so rare that there are less than 1000 of them remaining in the wild.
Dibblers, a tiny carnivorous marsupial, were thought to be extinct for more than 50 years until a chance rediscovery in 1967.
The main threats both animals face in the wild have included habitat loss, and introduced predators such as feral cats and foxes.
For several years, these species, along with a few others, have been part of a breed and release program here at the Zoo.
In partnership with Parks and Wildlife WA and other conservation organisations, more than 220 numbats and more than 800 dibblers have been bred at the Zoo, and released 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 mums, with 21 pouch young between them, were released to Gunton Island.
By the end of the year most, if not all, of the remaining marsupial joeys will set out on a wild adventure, with the aim of repopulating these species in natural habitats.
In the lead up, it’s a busy time for the keepers in the Zoo’s NSBP, as they wean the dibbler young from their mums and prepare enough termite custard to suffice the Numbats’ appetite for 20,000 termites a day.
Perth Zoo is the only zoo in the world breeding both of these incredible species.
National Threatened Species Day is a reminder for all Australians to not take our unique native wildlife for granted.
Check out the video and photos below to see the Numbat and Dibbler joeys born this year!