The world’s only successful breeding program for Yellow-bellied Gliders at Taronga Zoo has welcomed its 13th joey.
In the last few days, keepers in the Zoo’s nocturnal exhibit, Australian Nightlife, have been able to get a good look at the youngster which a vet check confirmed was a male.
Also known as the Fluffy Glider, the remarkable marsupials can still be found in bushland at the edge of Sydney, such as in the Bouddi National Park.
Australian Mammals keeper, Wendy Gleen said: “They have the softest fur of any animal. It’s so soft that you can see you hand touching it but can’t actually feel it against your hand.”
Yellow-bellied Gliders are about the size of a rabbit, but weigh just 700g and can glide 140 metres through the trees. Its grey-brown fur is highlighted by the orange to yellow fur of its belly.
Wendy said: “The biggest problem for the gliders is local bushland being broken up by development along the eastern seaboard where they’re found. People can help by planting trees and shrubs that are found locally in backyards to create wildlife corridors and by getting involved with local bush regeneration groups.”
Taronga Zoo’s Education team is launching its new Project Yellow-bellied Glider with school students on the Central Coast as part of its very successful community wildlife education program, which focuses on threatened Australian wildlife including Little Penguins, Regent Honeyeaters and platypus.
There already are 160 students from four schools involved in the Yellow-bellied Glider Project, from Holy Cross, Kincumber, St John the Baptist, Woy Woy, St Joseph’s Catholic College and St Edwards College, East Gosford.
Taronga Zoo will soon be launching a naming competition for the joey through its Facebook and Instagram pages.