The young quokka has been named ‘Meeuk Mia’ or ‘Mia’ for short. Her name means “halo of the moon” in the language of the Noongar people who come from Western Australia.
Her foster career is Bec Russell-Cook who said that, “she’s quite the little climber. She loves climbing on the other keepers’ shoulders and heads during morning tea and I even woke up one night to find her looking at me from atop a mountain of pillows next to my bed.”
Bec carries the joey around in a makeshift pouch and regularly feeds her. They are both as enthused as each other about getting up for a feed at 2am, “The 2am bottle feeds are certainly the toughest, as Mia gets tired and falls asleep while she’s drinking,” added Bec.
Along with milk Mia is also receiving native grass and flowers for an occasional nibble. She will soon move to solid foods such as carrot. Mia will continue needing this care till she is old enough to join the other three quokkas known as Poppy Lou, Autumn and Jarrah at the Taronga Zoo Education Centre.
Their small population area has led to them being classified as vulnerable. Taronga zoo breeds this species as part of a national program which wants to creates an insurance population so the species is safeguarded for the future. This year Taronga has bred three quokkas with Mia being the smallest.
Bec said, “If a natural disaster or disease were to hit Rottnest Island it would be devastating for Quokkas, which is why an insurance population is so important.”
Photo Credit: Taronga Zoo/Paul Fahy