Zoo News - February 2012
Breeding season at Australia Zoo continues in the name of conservation
Did you know that Australia's gorgeous Tasmanian devils are a critically endangered species and predictions are that they will be extinct within 10 to 15 years? This is all because of a nasty disease known as Devil Facial Tumour Disease (DFTD).
DFTD is a debilitating cancerous sarcoma threatening wild populations, and is highly contagious among devils; tumours appear on the Tasmanian devil's face and neck and the devil dies of starvation within three to six months of infection.
Australia Zoo is doing everything in our power to reverse the possibility of losing this species to disease. Australia Zoo's Tasmanian devils, Narahi and Presely will be two devils participating in our breeding program this year to hopefully continue growing the insurance population of Tasmanian devils.
Introduction of Presely to Narahi will take place over the coming days and our keepers are hopeful that Presely, already a father of four can continue doing his bit for the conservation of a species.
So what exactly takes place during breeding season?
Once two devils have been introduced and their personalities are a match, they remain together for five to ten days. After this time together, it takes 21 days until we know if breeding has been successful or not. After 21 days, if breeding was successful, a Tasmanian devil is born; However; a Tasmanian devil joey will remain in its mothers pouch for four months; so it is safe to say the waiting game is on at Australia Zoo.
People can help save the species by donating towards Tasmanian devil conservation at http://www.australiazoo.com.au/conservation/projects/tasmanian-devils/
Lions roar at Australia Zoo
Australia Zoo experienced a surprise attack today from a pack of lions - the Brisbane Lions that is!
Coach Michael Voss, Captain Johnathan Brown and Vice Captain Josh Drummond from the AFL Brisbane Lions Football Club stopped into Australia Zoo today for a visit. The Brisbane Lions were on the Sunshine Coast promoting the AFL Australia Post Community Camps. The Brisbane Lions trio took time out to meet another kind of cat here at Australia Zoo, Bashii, our 115kg Sumatran tiger.
Coach Michael Voss was pretty happy with meeting our big boy Bashii.
"Whenever you start the day patting a tiger that just kicks off the rest of the day beautifully and being able to see the other animals here at Australia Zoo was great," Voss said.
"It is symbolic that we are able to launch the community program here at Australia Zoo because they play such a big role in the community with conservation and we want to be able to grow the Sunshine Coast area, so that really goes hand in hand," Voss continued.
The Lions players didn't visit Australia Zoo empty handed, bringing two bright pink Sherrin footballs as presents for Sumatran tigers Bashii and Kaitlin for being good sports.
Head of Big Cats Giles Clark said that our tigers love getting presents from visitors and this was no different.
"Bashii and Kaitlin were having a pretty relaxing time in the Tiger Temple but once they spotted the pink Sherrin footballs that were given to them by the Lions players it was game on," Giles said.
"Both Bashii and Kaitlin were very excited to have new footballs to play with, Kaitlin was straight in the water where she busted the football and Bashii lit up with excitement, producing a massive tree climb to get the other football."
Almost $50,000 raised for the Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital
Our native wildlife have a fighting chance at survival following an awesome summer holidays at Australia Zoo!
Daily silent auctions gave visitors the chance to bid for the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to take part in one of our amazing animal encounters alongside Terri, Bindi and Robert Irwin, with all money raised going to the Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital.
A whopping $48,500 was raised by the end of the summer school holidays - a new zoo record! Families from all over Australia (and some from overseas!) dug deep into their pockets for the chance to get up close and personal with our gorgeous elephants, echidnas, lemurs and Tasmanian devils.
Over 7500 sick, injured and orphaned native Australian animals were admitted to the Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital in 2011. The FREE wildlife treatment facility is the largest of its kind in Australia, and operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The hospital receives no state or federal government funding, and while Australia Zoo covers all administrative costs, the hospital relies solely on public donations to continue operating.
Check out www.wildlifewarriors.org.au/wildlife_hospital for more information or to donate.
A massive thank you to everyone who took part in the silent auctions!