You can ‘bettong’ this making your Friday!
A critically-endangered Brush-tailed Bettong joey has made his debut in the Adelaide Zoo Nocturnal House.
The fluffy five-month-old joey is the offspring of five-year-old Truffles and 13-year-old Rambo, who has become well-known as an ambassador for rewilding and conservation of this native species.
Senior Keeper of Natives, Erin Turrell, said the marsupial has a lot of spunk, taking after mum, Truffles.
“He definitely has a lot of personality and takes after his mum. He has been settling in well to the Nocturnal House and getting to know his new keepers, with the help of his favourite snack – popcorn!” she said.
“It is so great for Adelaide Zoo to have him join the animals in the Nocturnal House as it is a chance for our visitors to learn about Brush-tailed Bettong, which are critically endangered in the wild, and the conservation work we do in the wild such as the Marna Banggara rewilding project.
“This little one is actually the second male joey for Truffles and Rambo this year, so we’d love visitors to help us name the duo.”
Keepers have put together a shortlist of names inspired by the joey’s species and Zoos SA’s conservation work. They include Marni and Banji after the Marna Banggara rewilding project, Beans, a ground legume to follow mum, Truffles, and Rubble after the species’ nickname ‘soil engineers’.
Visitors are encouraged to vote for their top two paw-fect names for their chance to win a double pass to Adelaide Zoo’s Koala Encounter, which reopened today after a short pause due to COVID restrictions. See all the details here.
Also known as Woylie, numbers of Brush-tailed Bettongs are decreasing rapidly in the wild.
According to the IUCN, there are only around 12,000-18,000 individuals remaining in Western Australia with the species locally extinct on mainland South Australia.
This year Zoos SA lead a second translocation of Woylie as part of the Marna Banggara rewilding project.
Across two weeks, bettongs from Western Australia’s Tone-Perup Nature Reserve and another cohort from Wedge Island in South Australia were reintroduced to the southern Yorke Peninsula.
Marna Banggara is the biggest rewilding project in Australia and has seen locally-extinct species returned to a fenced 170,000 hectare wildlife reserve.
The project is jointly funded through the Northern and Yorke Landscape Board, the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program, the South Australian Department for Environment and Water, WWF Australia, and Foundation for National Parks & Wildlife, in partnership with the Narungga Nation Aboriginal Corporation.
Nicknamed ‘soil engineers’, Brush-tailed Bettongs play an essential role in keeping their habitats sustainable by digging up to four tonnes of dirt and leaf litter per year, spreading the seeds of native plants around the area in the process.
The reintroduction of bettongs to the southern Yorke Peninsula will help restore ecosystem health and create a better environment for plants and other local wildlife.
For more information about Zoos SA conservation work please visit www.adelaidezoo.com.au.