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The Return of the Woylie

Posted by on in Warrawong Sanctuary
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Last year saw the return of Woylies or Brush Tail Bettongs to Warrawong Sanctuary and I'm excited to announce a second introduction of an additional five Woylies to our already growing population!

This critically endangered marsupial can only be seen at night. Photo: Kate Haensel

These Woylies have again come up from Monarto Zoo were they're bred as part of a national breeding program. Three males and two females were released into the sanctuary on September 24 bringing our population to approximately 20, not counting any joeys that have immerged out of pouch in the past year. During our annual census in March 2012 we confirmed that five females had pouch young at the time, and females have been seen regularly with joeys in their pouch on our Nocturnal Walks. These successful findings justified a second introduction of Woylies which will help diversify the gene pool and hopefully increase our population to the point where we can begin to relocate Woylies to other sanctuaries across Australia.

Woylies are currently classified as critically endangered in Australia with around 6,000 individuals left in feral proof areas across the country. Woylies once covered over 60% of Australia and were as common as rabbits are today. Since European settlement, Woylie populations decreased rapidly mainly due to habitat loss, predation by feral animals and the spread of disease. The translocation of Woylies and the spread of genetics is critical to the species success in the future. Woylies being nocturnal marsupials can only be seen at night on our guided Nocturnal Walks. It's a great time of the year to visit Warrawong with joeys coming out of pouches and it's also Platypus breeding season too!

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