Happy #AustraliaDay, the official national day of Australia! To celebrate, we’re proud to announce the winners of our Facebook Watch Show, “ZooBorns: Australia!” are the Numbats! Perth Zoo has the world’s ONLY numbat breeding program. $3,000 USD will be donated to a wildlife conservation fund which supports work to safeguard a future for the incredible critters. Congratulations Numbats, and thank you to all the viewers who’ve voted for their favorite Australian ZooBorns! If you haven't seen the show, you can find all the epsiodes on Facebook or Youtube. We're embedding a few highlights below.
These Perth Zoo Veterinarians have a lot to be thankful for! They are giving this tiny baby Meerkat Kit a clean bill of health. This is no ordinary Meerkat kit, however. He's just returned to the Zoo via police escort after going MISSING!! Find out what happened tomorrow (Wednesday, November 21) at 12:00PM Noon EST when we air the penultimate episode of 'ZooBorns: Australia!', our Facebook Watch show.
Perth Zoo’s new Nepalese Red Panda cub was given its first health check, just as an Australian conservation organization helped rescue six Red Pandas being trafficked across international borders.
Perth Zoo Keeper, Marty Boland said, “We were very excited to welcome a new cub to the Zoo family, however it coincides with the rescue of six Red Pandas from wildlife traffickers, emphasizing just how perilous it is out there for these animals.”
Photo Credits: Alex Asbury/ Perth Zoo
The rescued Red Pandas, destined for the illegal wildlife trade, were taken into the care of one of Perth Zoo’s conservation partners, Free the Bears, after being seized on the border of Laos and China. Tragically, only three of the six survived their first night due to severe stress and potential exposure to disease.
“The recent rescue in Laos highlights how vital coordinated zoo breeding programs are for the survival of this endangered species. It ensures we have an insurance population in place to fight extinction.”
Including the new cub, Perth Zoo has successfully reared 19 Nepalese Red Pandas since 1997.
The two-month old Red Panda was born to 9-year-old mother, Anusha, who was also born at Perth Zoo, and 6-year-old father, Makula, who was born in Canberra.
"Today our veterinarians gave our furry new arrival a quick health check of its body condition, eyes, teeth, ears and weight,” Marty said. “The Perth Zoo team are also consulting with Free the Bears, providing advice on appropriate diets and how to reduce heat stress for the rescued pandas.”
Nepalese Red Pandas are found across the Himalayan Mountain and foothills of India, China, Nepal and Bhutan. Deforestation and illegal poaching continue to be significant threats to remaining populations. Less than 10,000 are thought to remain in the wild.
Apart from coordinated breeding programs, Perth Zoo is committed to saving wildlife and has several conservation partners, including Free the Bears, and an ongoing partnership with TRAFFIC, the international wildlife trade monitoring network. Jointly we help fund a Wildlife Crime Analyst position to fight wildlife trafficking and poaching.
Perth Zoo’s Red Panda cub is expected to emerge from the nest box in April.
Those wanting to help Red Pandas are encouraged to donate to Perth Zoo’s Wildlife Conservation Action program, which supports organizations including Free the Bears and TRAFFIC, helping protect animals beyond the Zoo’s borders.
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.
Photo 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.
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.
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.
Photo 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
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.
Photo 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.
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!
Photo Credit: Alex Cearnes (1,2,4); Perth Zoo (3,5)
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.”
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.
Photo 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.
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.
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.”
Found abandoned and separated from his mother, Frankie the orphaned Numbat is receiving expert care from keepers at Australia’s Perth Zoo.
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.