These baby Numbats, photographed shortly after their mother deposited them in an underground burrow, are part of the Perth Zoo's Native Species Breeding Program. This unique program breeds Numbats and other endangered animals for release into the Australian wilderness. So far in 2012, 19 Numbats have been born at the zoo for release into the wild to help rebuild populations of this endangered marsupial.
Numbats are unique creatures. Like all marsupials, the young are born in a highly underdeveloped state and crawl to their mother's pouch, where they complete their development. Numbats are one of only two marsupials that are diurnal (active during the day), and they eat only one thing: termites. Adult Numbats eat up to 20,000 termites a day! Because Numbats are not strong enough to break open termite mounds, they must wait for the termites to move about near the surface. For this reason, Numbats' daily routines change seasonally to follow the movements of termites.
The Perth Zoo has successfully bred 160 Numbats for release into the wild to date. This is important because as Australian wild lands are altered due to clearing and fire, Numbat populations have dwindled. In addition, Numbats are preyed upon by feral foxes and cats.