Threatened Species Day, celebrated on the day the Thylacine went extinct, reminds us of the importance of zoos and our collaborative conservation efforts which prevent more species from suffering the same fate.
Behind the scenes of Perth Zoo, a new generation of joeys is bringing hope for two endangered species, the Numbat and Dibbler. Perth Zoo’s Native Species Breeding Program 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 at Perth 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 re
leased 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 females with 21 pouch young between them, were released to Gunton Island, a remote island off Western Australia’s south coast. 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 Perth Zoo keepers at the Native Species Breeding Program, 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. Click here to see footage of the Dibbler and Numbat joeys.
Melissa Leo, Media and Communications Officer, Perth Zoo