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Hopping with joy! Monarto Safari Park welcomes twin bilby joeys

Just in time for Easter, Monarto Safari Park is bouncing with excitement to announce the birth of two gorgeous Greater Bilby joeys.

The twins, a male and female, were born to three-year-old Lisa, and recently emerged from her pouch to explore their world.

The keeping team were very excited to see the furry twins start to hop around, as bilby joeys begin life inside their mother’s pouch until they are around three months old.

This is the first litter for Lisa, who unfortunately lost a joey in 2020.

Species Management Officer, Jodi Buchecker, said Zoos SA has been part of National Recovery Team for the Greater Bilby for over 25 years and each birth brings hope for the endangered species.

“We’ve bred hundreds of bilbies at Monarto Safari Park but it has been a little while since our last litter. Every bilby born is very exciting, particularly for a native species that is threatened in the wild,” she said.

“This is also the first litter that we have sired from four-year-old, Jirntu, who came from Western Australia in 2020.

“Once the joeys are a little bit older we will be able to determine what animals are needed where and if these little ones can be released back into the wild.

“Our work with bilbies has been a very exciting story for Monarto Safari Park with amazing breeding success and a large number of releases back into the wild.

“So it’s lovely to be able to welcome these two joeys to the ongoing conservation of the species.”

Over the Easter weekend, Zoos SA will be running a naming competition for the bouncy duo.

The public will be able to vote to select their favourite two names from a shortlist inspired by Australian native flora.

The names include Wattle, Banksia, Bluegum, Fern and Pea (after the Sturt Desert Pea). To vote visit, www.monartosafari.com.au/event/bilby-naming – all voters will be in the chance to win a basket of bilby goodies!

The Greater Bilby once inhabited over 70 per cent of the Australian mainland, however populations have been devastated by predators like feral cats and foxes with the species becoming extinct in South Australia by the 1930s.

Today, wild populations are found in the Tanami Desert in the Northern Territory, the Great Sandy Desert, Gibson Desert and parts of the Pilbara and Kimberley regions in Western Australia, and the southwest of Queensland.

While their distribution is widespread, numbers are declining and the species is listed by the IUCN Redlist as vulnerable to extinction with less than 9,000 remaining in the wild.

Zoos SA’s work with the Greater Bilby National Recovery Team has involved captive breeding, maintenance of the species studbook, supervising research and contributing to recovery efforts.

Our breeding program at Monarto Safari Park has seen over 200 bilbies with more than 90 released back into the wild as part of vital recovery projects. We are especially proud of our work in reintroducing Greater Bilbies back to South Australia areas including Thistle Island, Venus Bay, and Roxby Downs after an absence of nearly 70 years.

In Australia, the bilby is synonymous with Easter as our own version of the ‘Easter Bunny’.

Zoos SA will host a range of exciting activities for families over the Easter weekend at both Adelaide Zoo and Monarto Safari Park, thanks to our friends at Melba’s Chocolates and Confectionery and Beyond Bank.

You can learn more about eggs and the conservation of species this weekend at Adelaide Zoo and Monarto Safari Park with two egg-themed conservation trails.

At Easter we often celebrate with chocolate eggs, but eggs symbolise so much for wildlife and the environment around us.

Hop in and tick off all five stops on the Easter trail to find out how different native species use tree hollows to lay and protect their eggs and the species that lay eggs and how we can protect and support their conservation in the wild.

Visitors can also complete a word scramble to collect a free Melba’s Easter bilby.

To help ensure the future of our long-eared marsupial friends, you can adopt a bilby for a special someone at Easter or come along to visit Adelaide Zoo or Monarto Safari Park. For more information, visit www.adelaidezoo.com.au or www.monartosafari.com.au.

 

The day is here!Monarto Safari Park’s new Visitor Centre is open to the public from 9.30am. #thewildiscallinghttps://t.co/RmvY4qIIts

About Zoos SA

Zoos SA is a not-for-profit conservation charity that exists to connect people with nature and save species from extinction.

Zoos SA acknowledges the Country on which we stand always was, and always will be, Aboriginal land and we pay our deepest respect and gratitude to Kaurna (Adelaide Zoo) and Ngarrindjeri (Monarto Safari Park) Elders, past, present and emerging.

We undertake critical conservation work throughout Australia and acknowledge the traditional custodians of these lands.

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