Taronga Zoo has a pair of beaut’ bilbies and they want you to help name them.
The zoo announced the birth of the joey duo in December which we covered here – Bilby joeys born with the help of some royal magic | The Animal Facts. The births capped off an exciting year for the bilbies at Taronga where they got a new exhibit and a visit from The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. This new habitat was named after the royal couple’s son, Prince George.
This week keepers gave the youngsters a health check which was their first chance to get hands on. Keepers were able to discover that they were both females as a result of this.
One was named ‘Tanami’ after the desert in the Northern Territory where a fragmented population of bilbies is found.
The zoo has launched the naming contest on their Facebook and Instagram pages for the other joey with a call for names that reflect the joey’s native habitat.
Keeper, Paul Davies said, “We’ll be looking for a very Australian name, but not ‘Bruce’ or ‘Sheila’.”
“It would be wonderful to find a name that reflects this beautiful bilbies natural habitat, which has sadly declined due to the introduction of farm animals and predators such as feral foxes and cats.”
200 years ago bilbies were found across most of the mainland. Now due to habitat degradation and introduced predators they have declined massively.
Taronga is aiming to reverse this through partnerships with the Save the Bilby Fund and Australian Wildlife Conservancy who are protecting the remaining habitat of bilbies.
This pair of joeys were born as part of a breeding program that saw their mother, Yajala move to Taronga from Monatro Zoo in South Australia throughout 2013. She was successfully paired with George the resident stud at Taronga.
Yajala takes the joeys out with her exploring the habitat and burrowing allowing visitors a glimpse of them.
Their birth has been able to build on the exposure generated by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visiting.
Mr Davies said, “You could even say the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge brought us good luck, as it’s after their visit that we’ve been able to breed Bilbies for the very first time.”
Photo Credit: Taronga Zoo/ Paul Fahy