14 Jun POTOROO JOEY SURPRISE
Potoroo Joey Surprise
In April 2019, Aussie Ark celebrated the arrival of two Long-nosed potoroo joeys, just in time for Easter! The Long-nosed potoroo is the smallest and most ancient member of the kangaroo family, having remained relatively unchanged for around 10 million years.
Once widespread along the East coast of Australia, and like many other smaller native mammals, its population has declined and fragmented since the introduction of foxes and cats, making it difficult for breeding and resulting in local extinctions.
Long-nosed potoroos give birth to a single young after a 38-day gestation period, with the newborns weighing only 0.3grams, that’s less than one jelly bean! Potoroo young will stay in the pouch for between 120- 130 days. After leaving the pouch, they will remain near the mother and continue to feed for about 40 days. Long-nosed potoroos will generally breed once or twice a year depending on climate and habitat conditions – so Aussie Ark is off to a great start.
Long-nosed potoroos are so important to our ecosystem; they play a critical role in improving the health of forests by dispersing a host of beneficial fungi spores as they forage and move around. These fungi, which form a major part of their diet, assist eucalypt and acacia trees absorb more water and nutrients and are essential for seedling survival. The species also plays a key role in reducing the chance of fires by grazing undergrowth and turning over leaf litter.
The two joeys became a part of Aussie Ark’s breeding program and help continue to build the population, as preparations begin for release into the 64Ha Ecological Sanctuary and the 400 Ha Barrington Wildlife Sanctuary, both feral free sanctuaries.
Aussie Ark is protecting the habitat of this unique eco-engineer on Aussie Ark sites, by removing or managing stock and feral herbivores, conserving native vegetation, managing fire and controlling feral predators.
By 2021 we will have nearly over 373 long-nosed potoroos, equalling 1 potoroo per hectare of sanctuary wilderness. By 2021, we will have increased the captive potoroo population by 450%! You can help support this species’ future by donating today.