Posted on 23rd December 2019 by Media Relations
Greater Bilby breeding success in the Taronga Sanctuary, Dubbo
Taronga Western Plains Zoo’s Greater Bilby conservation breeding program has produced its first two joeys in the Taronga Sanctuary at Dubbo.
The first Greater Bilbies released into the Sanctuary were recently caught up to conduct a routine check, and to determine if the females were carrying pouch young.
“It was really exciting to see that two of the five females released into the sanctuary in October have a single pouch young each,” said Taronga Recovery and Conservation Programs Manager, Andrew Elphinstone.
“The fact the Greater Bilbies have produced offspring so quickly after being released into the Sanctuary demonstrates they have adapted extremely well to their new home.”
During the routine check the Greater Bilbies also had their weight and body condition assessed to determine if they were thriving in their new environment.
“We are really happy with how the first released Bilbies have settled in. They have established burrows and are in good health and body condition, so they are definitely doing well in their new habitat,” said Andrew.
The tracking devices attached to the Bilbies’ tails were also changed over during this check. Initial GPS tracking data shows the Bilbies are traversing large distances across the Sanctuary on a weekly basis.
A second cohort of Greater Bilbies have been released into the Sanctuary this week to further bolster numbers and increase breeding opportunities. There is now a total of 15 Greater Bilbies roaming the Zoo’s 110ha conservation sanctuary, with more to join them in 2020.
“It is hoped the second group of Greater Bilbies will settle in quickly and start breeding in the near future as well,” said Andrew.
“Overall we couldn’t be happier with the first two months post- release, it has taken years to get to this point. To have breeding success and healthy Bilbies is a testament to the team working behind-the-scenes to ensure this program is a success.”
“The Greater Bilby is such an important species for the Australian ecosystem and we can’t afford to see it become extinct. This program is dedicated to ensuring its long-term survival and this initial success is just the first step to helping to bring Greater Bilbies back to NSW.”
Greater Bilbies can have up to three pouch young although one or two joeys is more common. Greater Bilbies are pregnant for 12 – 14 days and a joey will stay in its mother’s pouch for 75 – 80 days and will be independent approximately two weeks later. Female Greater Bilbies have a backward opening pouch so that it does not fill with dirt while they are digging.
Taronga Western Plains Zoo’s 110ha Sanctuary is located behind-the-scenes in Dubbo. It is home to the conservation breeding programs for the Greater Bilby and Plains-wanderer. For more information visit www.taronga.org.au/dubbo.