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Taronga’s Australian Nightlife Keepers got a surprise during a Yellow-bellied Glider’s routine check-up when Zoo vets noticed that the female was carrying a tiny joey in her pouch!

This was fantastic news for the Zoo’s breeding program, being the first ofspring for female, Barby, and male, Merim, which have been paired for over 12 months.

Taronga is the only zoo in Australia to have successful bred this remarkable gliding possum for many years and while they can be found less than  two hours’ drive from Sydney, these animals have suffered greatly from urbanisation as old growth trees are cut down. Gliders need mature trees for their nest hollows and when they lose their habitat they become more visible to predators such as foxes.

Parents and joey in nest box
In mid-August zookeeper Robert peered into the nest box at a special behind-the-scenes breeding area and spotted the joey for the first time out of its mother’s pouch. Robert said the youngster was curled up between the adults and was almost completely camouflaged by the mass of brown fur at the bottom of the nest. The youngster will remain in the security and warmth of its parents’ nest box for another six to eight weeks.

This is Taronga’s fifth  joey born since 2008. Adults  Bailey and Boydie which live at the Zoo’s Nocturnal House produced two sets of twins about a year apart. According to keepers, it’s exceptionally rare for Yellow –bellied Gliders to produce twins and extraordinary that a year later another set was born!

For keen bush walkers, keep your eyes peeled in western Sydney’s bushland. While Yellow-bellied Gliders are active at night, evidence of their territories is easy to identify as they leave distinctive ‘v’ shaped marks on eucalyptus trees using their teeth to collect the sap.