Taronga Zoo

Taronga Zoo Sydney is Celebrating the Birth of an Adorable Female Long nosed Fur Seal Pup

Taronga Zoo Sydney is celebrating the birth of an adorable female Long-nosed Fur Seal pup, who made her entrance into the world on 21 December 2020.

The pup, who is now three weeks old, was born to first-time mum Keke and is the first long-nosed fur seal pup to be born at Taronga Zoo in more than two decades.

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Keepers report mum and pup are doing extremely well and are getting to know one another in the quiet surrounds of the a purpose-built seal nursery.

Seal pups are not born knowing how to swim, so Keke will spend the next little while giving some swimming lessons before the pair are ready to venture from the nursery.

The little pup was just 3.58kg when she was first born, but has been suckling well and now weighs in at just over 4kg.

Keke is a rescue seal and was bought to the Taronga Wildlife Hospital in 2012 after she was found in Sydney Harbour with injuries from a boat strike. After prolonged treatment she was deemed not to be a suitable candidate for release.

An inquisitive and curious seal, Keke has spent the last few years engaging guests at the Seals for the Wild, powered by Red Energy.

While this little pup is not yet on display, visitors to Taronga can still see Amalie, an adorable five-month-old Australia Sea-lion, who is full of fun antics.

Taronga Zoo is open every day of the school holidays with more than 4,000 animals too meet from around the Whole WILD World.

Book your tickets at taronga.org.au


Baby boom for the Bellinger River Snapping Turtle

Taronga’s zoo-based population of the critically endangered Bellinger River Snapping Turtle has received a significant boost with the hatching of 35 turtle babies this year.

Endemic to the Bellinger River on the mid north coast of NSW, this species of short-necked freshwater turtle was almost completely wiped out in 2015 when a novel virus infiltrated the river.

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A NSW Government emergency response team was formed to investigate and coordinate the rescue of a group of healthy turtles to establish an insurance population. Taronga is working closely with NSW Department of Planning Industry and Environment (DPIE), Western Sydney University and Symbio Wildlife Park to save this species.

DPIE scientists managed to retrieve 16 healthy turtles from the river in 2015, which were later relocated to a special quarantine breeding facility at Taronga Zoo in Sydney.

“This is our fourth successful breeding season of the Bellinger River Snapping Turtle, and we now have nearly 100 of these turtles living at our quarantine facility at Taronga Zoo,” says Adam Skidmore, a Taronga reptile keeper who cares for the species. “The hatchlings are doing really well – eating lots and growing – and we are really happy with their development.”

“During the breeding season we check the nests daily,’ says Adam. “We then remove the eggs, weigh and measure them and place them in our incubator. We then check on them daily and wait for them to hatch, which can take up to 70 days.”

The Bellinger River Snapping Turtle recovery project is coordinated by the NSW’s Government’s Saving our Species (SoS) program. The project aims to release the healthy turtles bred at Taronga back to the Bellinger River. Threatened species officers from SoS have coordinated two release events to date, and are tracking and monitoring the progress of the turtles now living back in the Bellinger River.

“We have so far released 20 snapping turtles back into their natural environment and we are delighted to say their survival rate has been extremely high,” said SoS Threatened Species Officer Gerry McGilvray.

“This species could have been wiped out if not for the rapid response from Saving our Species and its partners. Releasing animals bred in captivity at Taronga represents a big step on the path to securing this species in the wild.”


Happy World Wombat Day From Wanyi The Wombat

 

You may (or may not be) aware that today is World Wombat Day! A day to celebrate and commemorate this iconic Australian animal. Taromga Zoo is home to five Southern hairy-nosed wombats and one Common Wombat.

The most recent addition to Taronga’s wombat family is Wanyi, a 13-month-old female Southern hairy-nosed wombat who has only recently emerged from mum’s pouch and begun making her way in the world during early August!

Wanyi, translates to ‘girl’ in the indigenous Wirangu language. She currently weighs in at an impressive 11.2kg and oh has she progressed! Although she has come far in size and personality Wanyi never strays too far from mum Jetta who is still very protective despite their similar size.


Fall leaves pint-sized echidna puggle needing a helping hand from Taronga Wildlife Hospital

 

An adorable short-beaked echidna puggle is the one of the latest patients to be brought into the Taronga Wildlife Hospital and is now being hand raised after an interesting turn of events saw it requiring specialist care. 

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The puggle was brought into the Taronga Wildlife Hospital last month from the Central Coast after members of the public saw it drop about 4m to the ground from a tree where a raven and magpie were perched. The puggle had scratches and lacerations to its back so it’s suspected that it was taken from its burrow by a bird of prey before being dropped after proving an unsuccessful meal.

After arriving at the Taronga Wildlife Hospital, the puggle was assessed by a team of vets and vet nurses including x-rays, blood tests and a thorough look over, and thankfully deemed to be in surprisingly good health considering its ordeal.

Senior Keeper Sarah Male is now responsible for hand-raising the puggle. This includes second-daily feeds of a specially formulated echidna milk formula which the puggle laps off her palm followed by a bath. The puggle then returns to its makeshift burrow to sleep off the feed for 48hours before Sarah repeats the process all-over again.

“Despite its ordeal, this little puggle doing so well. Since arriving at the hospital its lacerations have almost completely healed, it’s putting on weight and is also starting to grow a thin layer of fur all of which are all promising signs.

“While the puggle is improving every day, it is still very young and in the wild would still be dependent on mum, so will require ongoing care for the next few months.  I’ve hand-raised of lots of animals throughout the years at Taronga but such a young echidna puggle is a new experience for me,” said Male.

Echidnas are only one of two species of monotremes in the world, meaning they are unique mammals that lay eggs and also suckle their young. Sadly, it is not it is not uncommon for the Taronga Wildlife Hospital to care for echidnas as they come into contact with cars on the road or are attacked by domestic pets such as dogs and cats.

This puggle joins more than 1,400 native wildlife patients who are treated by specialist vets and vet nurses across Taronga’s hospitals in Sydney and Dubbo each year. The Taronga Wildlife Hospital is open 365 days a year providing care to an array of Australian. Help our hospital team continue to their vital work by donating to our Wildlife Recovery Appeal: taronga.org.au/wildlife-recovery

 


A Seal-iously Cute Announcement For Taronga Zoo Sydney

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Taronga Zoo Sydney is proud to announce the birth of a very cute, very playful Australian sea-lion pup who made her first splash today at Taronga’s Seal Bay and is calling on the public to help name the new arrival.

 

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The female Australian sea-lion pup was born during the early morning of Wednesday the 30th of July to experienced Mother Nala and Father Charlie. This is Nala and Charlie’s second pup together, following the successful birth of Torre a male Australian sea-lion pup who was born in late 2018.

“Weighing in at only 7kg at birth, the little pup has increased not only in weight but has shown a massive increase in confidence over the past week. She is now constantly swimming and playing in the water, which is the type of progress we would like to see at this age” says Marine Mammals Unit Supervisor Brad McKenzie.

“We are thrilled that she is going to be out on display these spring school holidays. At the moment she is learning to vocalise and although I may be biased, but it is probably one of most adorable sounds ever!” say Mckenzie

All births at Taronga are considered significant and special moments, but the recent birth of this Australian sea-lion pup is not only incredible news for Taronga and their breeding program but is wonderful news for this native marine species.

Australian Sea-lion numbers in the wild continue to decline due to isolated populations, over-fishing and entanglement in fishing debris. That is why on this special occasion Taronga is calling on the public to help name their latest, but not so tiniest addition with the launch of seal pup naming competition.

The public will get to choose from two names; Amalie which is a tribute to the pup’s late Grandfather and Nala’s Father Mallie, or Kailani which is of Hawaiian origin and translates to sea and sky. The entry with the most meaningful reason behind their name selection will win a family pass to Taronga valued at $152 and a seal encounter and meet and greet with one of Taronga’s Marine Mammal Keepers. For more information, how to enter and T&C’s simply visit www.taronga.org.au/sealpupcomp

The pup and her mother Nala can now be seen throughout the day at Taronga Zoo Sydney’s Seal Bay at the Greater Southern Ocean Precinct these spring school holidays, where the pup will be playfully and utterly adorably exploring her new surroundings.


Record Number of Feathertail Gliders Born at Taronga Zoo

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Taronga Zoo, located in Sydney, Australia, is celebrating the breeding success of 13 Feathertail Glider babies, adding to 20 babies born only months ago. Born in March, the new joeys have just emerged from their mothers’ pouches.

Joeys usually emerge from their mother’s pouch when they are about 63 days old. At this point, the pouch, with up to four joeys inside, is so big that the mother’s feet cannot touch the ground.

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Please credit photographer _ Sarah Lievore 3Photo Credit: Sarah Lievore

Feathertail Gliders are named after their long tail that is fringed with stiff hairs that resemble a feather. These tiny marsupials are only two to three inches long but can glide up to 90 feet from tree to tree. A flap of skin stretching from front to back legs acts like a parachute, while the tail serves as a rudder for steering. As adults they weigh .4 ounces – about the same as two US quarters.

Taronga Zoo Sydney is believed to be the first Zoo to ever successfully breed Feathertail Gliders, and in the last decade has seen the birth of up to 200 individuals.

With the help of fine skin ridges and tiny hairs on their feet, Feathertail Gliders are able to climb smooth surfaces, such as vertical panes of glass. Sweat helps the feet act like suction cups to aid in climbing.

Feathertail Gliders are probably common in much of eastern Australia, but few people see them due to their tiny size and nocturnal habits.

Not a lot is known about these tiny animals in the wild. While there appear to be no immediate major threats to this species in the short term, Feathertails may be locally threatened by habitat loss as well as predation by feral cats and foxes.  

See more photos of the Gliders below.

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Rescued Little Penguins Return to the Sea

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On April 17, Taronga Wildlife Hospital staff released five healthy Little Penguins into the sea after nursing them back to health in Sydney, Australia.

The birds arrived at Taronga from nearby beaches over the past two months. Injuries included dehydration, a fishing hook injury and a broken foot.

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Photo Credit: Sarah Lievore

Taronga Wildlife Hospital manager Libby Hall said, “Most of the penguins were brought to Taronga Wildlife Hospital by members of the community who saw them in difficulty and took action. The community’s awareness of Little Penguins and other wildlife is increasing all the time and by acting quickly, they give us the best chance to help the birds through difficult times.”

The penguins were nicknamed by the Taronga Wildlife Hospital:

  • Bondi, found on Bondi Beach
  • Footsie, found in Newcastle on Stockton Beach
  • Nigel, found Chowder Bay in Mosman
  • Margaret, found in Maroubra
  • Collin, found on Collins Beach in Manly

Penguins hunt for fish as they swim in the ocean. Little Penguins become vulnerable during their annual molt, when their waterproof feathers fall out in clumps. Until their new feathers grow in, they cannot enter the water to capture fish. Because the Penguins do not feed during the molting period, they become emaciated and weak so are vulnerable to domestic pets, most particularly dogs.

The colony of Little Penguins at Manly in Sydney Harbor is the last remaining on the mainland of New South Wales. This population is protected and numbers only about 60 pairs. Other nearby colonies are located on offshore islands, which offer the Penguins some protection from pressure from humans and domestic pets.

Little Penguins are found in habitats along Australia’s southern coast and on the shores of Tasmania. These birds are also present on the southern coast of New Zealand. Several colonies have declined over the past decades, mostly due to human interference and predation. They are listed as a species of Least Concern by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

People can help Little Penguins at beaches by keeping dogs on leashes, not leaving rubbish including fishing line hooks around and protecting habitat at the shoreline.

See more photos of the Penguin release below.

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Meerkat Siblings Join the Troop at Taronga

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Keepers at Taronga Zoo Sydney are excited by the arrival of two Meerkat pups, born on January 20.

This is the sixth litter of pups for mother, Narobi, who has been keeping a close eye on her offspring as they emerge from the den and explore their surroundings. The pair was fathered by Maputo.

The sex of the duo is yet-to-be-determined, so they are currently without names. However, when the time is right, their names will likely be taken from the Swahili language to reflect their African heritage.

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As with all Meerkat young, the pups are developing very quickly. Carnivore Keeper, Maz Boz, said, “The infants are starting to eat bits of fruits, veggies and fly pupae. They learn to eat solids by mimicking their parents and siblings, which is a natural behaviour in the wild.”

“The pups are now standing on their hind legs, which will play an important role during sentry duty watches when they become adults,” Maz added. “The pups are now starting to emerge outside after a few weeks being in their dens, visitors can see the pups for short periods each day as they start to grow in confidence and explore their home.”

“Mum, Nairobi, is a very experienced mother having her sixth litter, two daughters, Serati and Xolani, also learning from her and being very tentative and assisting their mother in babysitting the pups whilst mum has a break,” said Maz.

Both Narobi and father, Maputo, play an important role in rearing the pups. The other members of the troop will also assist with caring for and protecting the pups as they grow and develop.

According to the Keepers at Taronga Zoo, they are quite hands-off with the Meerkats. They choose to allow the “politics” to be sorted out by the animals within their own hierarchy.

“They may be young, but they’re already showing signs of their own little personalities. They are both quite outgoing, adventurous and inquisitive jumping on the other Meerkats to play,” Maz concluded.

The Meerkat pups can be seen on exhibit with the rest of their troop, which is now comprised of eighteen in total. According to Maz, the best time to catch a glimpse of the pups is during the daily Keeper Talk and feeding at 11:30am daily.

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Feathertail Gliders Fill Their Nests at Taronga Zoo

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Taronga Zoo is celebrating the breeding success of more than twenty Feathertail Gliders, one of the smallest mammals in the world.

Twelve different female adult Feathertail Glider’s fell pregnant at a similar time with the joeys, and the mothers now communally care for one another’s young.

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The emergence of the joeys from their mother’s pouch typically occurs around 63 days, when the pouch usually gets so large that mom’s feet cannot touch the ground.

Keepers at Taronga Zoo can’t be sure exactly how many joeys have been born, as the speedy little Gliders race around their exhibit gliding between branches, however they estimate to have spotted approximately twenty new offspring.

“The remarkable breeding success means the tiny Gliders will become important ambassadors for their species,” said Australian Fauna Keeper, Rob Dockerill.

“We were the first Zoo to ever breed these tiny marsupials, so it’s always exciting when such a large group like this is born,” added Keeper Rob. “When they’re born, they’re only half the size of a grain of rice. The adults only weigh 13 grams and are about 7cm long.”

“We started breeding the Gliders in 1988, and in only the past decade, we’ve seen up to 200 joeys emerge,” he said.

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Koala Joey Emerges For Warm Holiday Season

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Taronga Zoo is delighted to share images of their new male Koala joey. The tiny face has appeared just in time to catch the warmer weather of an Australian summer.

The joey has been named ‘Banks’ after naturalist and explorer Sir Joseph Banks. This continues Taronga’s tradition of choosing names for their Koalas while honoring Australian heritage.

Banks is nine months old and is the second joey to mum Malleey, who gave birth to Baxter three years ago.

According to keeper, Laura Jones, Banks is now eating eucalyptus leaves, supplemented with mum’s milk. Soon he will be weaned and his diet will consist of only Eucalyptus leaves.

Banks has also now completely emerged from the pouch. “At ninth months old, he’s already experimenting with sitting on his own, which usually happens around 10 months, so he is a bit advanced for his age,” remarked Laura.

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Koalas are one of Australia’s most iconic species. Unfortunately, Koala numbers are declining in the wild due to habitat encroachment, so every birth helps to secure a future for this iconic species.

Found along the East Coast of Australia, Koala’s are losing their homes due to deforestation. Being a sensitive animal, Koala’s do not translocate habitats well. Rather than cutting down trees and planting new ones elsewhere in the hope that wildlife will relocate, it is very important to protect their home today.

“It is particularly important for people to watch out for Koalas on the roads with the arrival of the busy Christmas period,” Laura added.

Taronga’s Koala breeding program has now produced three joeys this year. A great time to see the new Koala joey, in the zoo’s Aussie Walkthrough exhibit, is during the daily keeper talks at 3:30pm.

More great pics below the fold!

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