It’s just over two years since Taronga became home to ten wild caught quokkas from Rottnest Island, West Australia, and they’ve certainly settled in, producing five tiny joeys!
These animals were brought to the Zoo as part of a national effort to create a sustainable population of Quokkas on the mainland in case a disease or natural disaster like a bushfire wiped out the island population.
In December 2009, Taronga Keeper, Sam travelled to the island with a team from Perth Zoo, Rottnest Island Authority and Department of Environment and Conservation to capture the cat-sized marsupials. They’re only found on a few islands off the coast of Western Australia and were initially mistaken by a Dutch navigator for large rats which resulted in him naming one of the islands ‘Rottnest’ (rat nest). However, after a closer inspection of this tiny, gorgeous marsupial, it’s hard to believe that he could have mistaken them for being a rodent!
In the ‘Backyard to Bush’ precinct where Sam helps care for the animals, live three of the females and one male. Mid-last year the Keepers were delighted to discover that all of the females were carrying pouch young. Not too long ago a male and female joey ventured out of their mums’ pouches and Keepers are eagerly waiting to find out the sex of an approximately five and half month old who is beginning to poke its head outside the pouch to glimpse the world.
The Australian Fauna Precinct has also achieved breeding success with two of its females which are on display at the Echidna Yard next to the Koala Encounters area.