Posted on 13th October 2020 by Media Relations
Taronga Zoo Sydney is thrilled to announce the recent birth of Greater Bilby twins, the first joeys born at Taronga Zoo Sydney in over five years!
The joeys, one female and one male are estimated to have been born in early June in an off-display exhibit at Taronga’s bilby breeding facility at Taronga’s Backyard to Bush precinct. The names ‘Sandy’ (female) and ‘Gibson’ (male) were chosen by Keepers to pay tribute to deserts in Western Australia in which the Greater Bilby is commonly found.
“The Greater Bilby used to inhabit 70% of Australia’s mainland, but over the last 200 years their population has dramatically decreased due to the introduction of predators such as feral foxes and cats, competition with rabbits and habitat degradation limiting the areas they inhabit to only 15%,” says Unit Supervisor of the Australian Presentation Precinct Simon Brown.
“It is humbling to know that these two joeys will go on to contribute their valuable genetics to Taronga’s Westerns Plain’s breeding program and potentially join the recently released Greater Bilbies as part of the Wild Deserts Project at Sturt National Park, an incredible and collaborative effort from UNSW ecologists, NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service and Taronga,” says Simon Brown.
“Although the birth of two joeys may seem insignificant to some, female bilbies can actually breed up to 20 joeys in their lifetime, so these two births are contributing heavily to the future population of this iconic native species,” says Mr Brown.
Greater Bilby joeys remain in the pouch for up to 75 days and when they emerge from the pouch they continue to be cared for by their mum for a further 14 days. After this time the joeys leave the natal burrow and are completely independent.
“Both Sandy and Gibson are progressing extremely well, currently weighing in at 500 grams and are showing all the right traits that they will be ideal candidates for release, especially Sandy (female) as she is very independent and quite feisty,” says Mr Brown.
Whilst both Sandy and Gibson are too small to be on display, guests can still help them and their wild cousins by visiting Taronga these spring holidays or by donating at www.taronga.org.au/greaterbilby.
For more information on our bilby breeding program please visit www.taronga.org.au/animals/bilby
Tickets are available online only – for more information and our COVID safe measures in place please visit: www.taronga.org.au