Spring Baby Boom at Taronga
Tuesday 30th August 2011
Spring Baby Boom at Taronga

Spring’s arrival at Taronga has started early with new babies popping out across the Zoo.

Taronga’s primate keepers have been busy with the arrival of another endangered bright orange, Francois Leaf Monkey, the second to be born this year.

The male infant, named ‘Tam Dao’ after a National Park located in Vietnam north of Hanoi, was born to mother, ‘Meili’ and father ‘Hanoi’ and found cradled in its mother’s arms in the early morning of Saturday 20 August by Zoo keepers who had been monitoring the pregnancy.

Meili arrived from Beijing last year to help create the natural harem social structure of this monkey species. She is a very experienced mother, having had offspring previously, but not at Taronga, and also helped share the mothering of ‘Kei-co’ a young male born to the other female in Taronga’s group, ‘Saigon’, earlier this year.

The birth is extremely encouraging as few as 1000 François Leaf Monkeys exist in the wild and Taronga is the only Zoo in Australasia to care for this highly endangered Asian monkey. The new arrival, the energetic, ‘Kei-co’ and the adults are best seen in their tropical Asian rainforest exhibit around 11:30am and 2:30pm.

Spring is busy for the Zoo’s Wildlife Hospital too and keepers are flat out being surrogate mothers to orphaned native wildlife in need of extra attention. Taronga’s keepers’ outstanding skills have enabled them to save the lives of many tiny animals through intensive hand-raising.

Red Kangaroo joey
Keeper, Megan, is raising a young seven-month old female Red Kangaroo joey which arrived at the Zoo’s Wildlife Hospital too young to survive without its mother. Megan has stepped in to fill the void, bottle feeding the joey special marsupial milk formula every four hours. She carries the joey in a little backpack, which people often stare at in amazement as it wriggles as Megan goes about her daily work. The female joey will remain in Megan’s dedicated care for at least another four months, meaning many more sleepless nights and as Megan describes ‘bags the size of shipping containers under my eyes’.

A mob of little possums are also being raised by carers including ‘Swiss’ and ‘Miss’, two female Ring-tail Possums which were bought to the Zoo’s Wildlife Hospital after being discovered in their dead mother’s pouch. Weighing less than 60 grams, the possums are cared for 24 hours a day by keeper, Bobby-Jo and little ‘Swiss’ sports the world’s tiniest splint after sustaining a fracture to her wrist during the car impact which killed her mother.

 

Taronga’s koalas have also welcomed new life this Spring. The Zoo’s Australian Fauna keepers were delighted to find a total of seven little joeys this breeding season. Some of the young, which are born the size of a grain of rice, are still tucked away in their mother’s pouches, but ‘Maggie’, ‘Wanda’ and ‘Freya’ are proudly showing off their infants which are snuggled up close to them.

Glossy Black-cockatoo chick
The Zoo has also bred a Glossy Black-cockatoo chick, the first for seven years at Taronga. The youngster was hatched by first time mother, Gloucester. Zoo visitors will be able to glimpse Gloucester and her chick exploring the Zoo’s dense Bush Bird Aviary opposite the Koala Walkabout.