Environment Minister Robyn Parker and Dubbo MP Troy Grant today announced new Tasmanian Devil breeding success with the birth of two Devil joeys at Taronga Western Plains Zoo in Dubbo.
Today is the first time Zoo keepers will have a chance to get up close with the joeys, as they have taken a hands-off approach while the mother gives birth and raises the joeys who are almost six months old.
Ms Parker said the Zoo is part of a national program designed to help the Tasmanian Devil from becoming extinct as a result of the Devil Facial Tumour Disease.
“Every birth in the Tasmanian Devil breeding program is important. The Devil Facial Tumour Disease is continuing to destroy wild populations by up to 85 per cent in some areas since the discovery of the disease in 1996,” Ms Parker said.
“So far keepers have been observing very positive nurturing behaviours from the mother and are delighted with the progress and growth of the two joeys.
“First time mother, Lentil, is very protective of her young joeys and has been since birth.
“The joeys will stay with their mother until approximately 12 months old, before they will be weaned and become independent.”
Mr Grant said this recent birth brings the total of Tasmanian Devils born at Taronga Western Plains Zoo to 18, since the breeding program commenced in 2007.
“It is hoped that these two joeys will play a vital role in the Tasmanian Devil breeding program in the future once fully matured, creating greater genetic diversity,” Mr Grant said.
“Taronga Western Plains Zoo’s has two breeding facilities for the Tasmanian Devil located behind the scenes.”