Taronga Zoo is celebrating the successful breeding of a yellow-bellied glider as it begins to emerge from mum, Shy’s pouch for the first time.
This young male is the 15th joey to be born at Taronga an amazing achievement as they are the only zoo to have ever bred this species. Even more impressive is that this is the first birth to occur from a hand-reared mother.
Shy was rescued from the pouch after her mother unfortunately became tangled in a barbed wire fence and passed away.
Keeper, Wendy Gleen said, “Shy was hand-raised by a wildlife carer at Cessnock before finding a home at Taronga. This makes her first joey extra precious, as it shows hand-raising is not a barrier to successful breeding with Yellow-bellied Gliders.”
Currently the joey is spending his time tucked away in a nest hollow with its parents. But Gleen explained that, “He should start to venture out on his own shortly. He’s looking very healthy and he’s inherited mum’s distinctive dark splotches on the side of his nose.”
The joey has been named ‘Banjo’ by the students of Sydney’s Holy Cross Catholic Primary School.
In the wild these animals are known are also known as fluffy gliders due to their remarkable soft fur and are viewed as vulnerable to extinction. This is a result of habitat loss especially the loss of tree hollows.
“The biggest problem for the gliders is local bushland being broken up by development along the eastern seaboard where they’re found. It takes 120 years for a mature tree to provide a nesting hollow, so they are irreplaceable in our lifetime and we’ve lost so many in recent years,” added Gleen.
People living in Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria where this species is found can help preserve them in to the future is to plant trees to create wildlife corridors so these animals can move about their habitat.
Photo Credit: Taronga Zoo/ Paul Fahy