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.
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.