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Sydney, Taronga's new Southern Hairy-nosed Wombat joey
Sydney, Taronga's new Southern Hairy-nosed Wombat joey

Taronga Zoo is celebrating the arrival of its second Southern Hairy-nosed Wombat joey in three years, a breeding success story that could also help the critically endangered Northern Hairy-nosed Wombat.

The female joey, which has been named ‘Sydney’, has just begun venturing outside mother, Korra’s pouch at eight months old, to the delight of keepers and visitors.

Keeper, Brett Finlayson said the birth was particularly exciting as Southern Hairy-nosed Wombats are notoriously difficult to breed.

“Compatibility and timing seem to be crucial ingredients for success, as the female is only receptive to the male for a 12 hour window. Korra and our male, Noojee, have proven to be a great pairing as this is their second joey in three years,” said Brett.

Keepers first began seeing movement in Korra’s pouch about three months after mating.

“We didn’t know for sure that we’d been successful until we saw a little foot pop out of the pouch,” said Brett.

“Sydney still sleeps very close to her mum, but she’s starting to get more adventurous each day and it looks like she’ll be an energetic little one as she grows up.”

Discovering the successful “formulae” to breed Southern Hairy-nosed Wombats is also seen as an important step towards saving their critically endangered cousin, the Northern Hairy-nosed Wombat, of which there only around 200 left in the wild.

“There’s no zoo-based breeding program for Northern Hairy-nosed Wombats at this time. However if we can perfect and apply what we learn from our breeding program here to Northern Hairy-nosed Wombats in the future, the ramifications for this critically endangered species could be immense,” said Brett.

Visitors to Taronga can see Sydney at the Zoo’s Backyard to Bush precinct.

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