Posted on 08th September 2020 by Media Relations
Taronga Zoo Sydney is happy announce the birth of a Southern hairy- nosed wombat joey, a great success to Taronga’s wombat breeding program. The female joey, which has been named Wanyi was predicted to be born in September last year has only just started emerging from her mother’s pouch.
Wanyi which translates to ‘girl’ in the indigenous Wirangu language was born to mother Jetta and father, Nuji and has grown in confidence over the past couple of months, especially the last few weeks says Backyard to Bush Keeper Bec Russell-Cook.
‘It has been so intriguing to watch Jetta as a mum and compare her mothering techniques to our other breeding wombats here at Taronga. Unlike our other female wombats, she is quite a protective mother and was carrying Wanyi around in her pouch a lot longer than our previous wombat mother’s, to the point where Wanyi didn’t quite fit in her pouch anymore and her legs were hanging out” says Russell-Cook.
Both the Southern hairy-nosed and Northern hairy-nosed wombats are born the size of jelly bean, being marsupials’ mother’s are born with pouch which acts as an external womb for the joey to grow and develop. The joey will begin to emerge and start venturing from the pouch at around 7 months of age, however in this case Wanji was quite a ‘late bloomer’ and keepers only caught quick glimpses of Wanyi to up until she was about 9 months of age. ‘Now that Wanyi is too big to fit in Jetta’s pouch they are still are inseparable, they are always wondering around together and even sleep together curled up next to one another, if they ever separated as soon as Jetta hears Wanyi vocalising she will rush right back into the burrow to ensure she is okay – it is a very special relationship to observe.
Wombat joey Wanyi and mother Jetta can be found out Taronga’s Backyard to Bush precinct which pays tribute to a range of popular farming animals and native Australian animals.
Southern hairy-nosed wombats are a “Near Threatened” species whose numbers continue to decline in the wild. The recent birth of Wanyi is interpreted as a valuable step in unlocking a great understanding of the reproduction of this cryptic species. When old enough, Wanyi will also contribute to the successful Southern hairy- nosed breeding program here at Taronga. Taronga Keepers alongside scientists and researchers are in hope the discovery of successful ‘formulae’ to breed Southern hairy-nosed wombats may help save their critically endangered cousin, the Northern Hairy-nosed Wombat, of which there are only 250 left in the wild.