OUR SPONSORED ANIMALS FOR 2020
Gilbert’s potoroo or ngilkat (Potorous gilbertii) is Australia’s most endangered marsupial and one of the world’s rarest critically endangered mammals. It is a small nocturnal macropod which lives in small groups. It has long hind feet and front feet with curved claws, which it uses to dig for food. Its body has large amounts of fur, which helps with insulation, and its fur ranges between brown and grey, the colour fading on its belly. This potoroo has a long, thin snout curving downward that it uses to smell its surroundings; this trait is common in all potoroo species. Its eyes appear to bulge out of its face and look as though they are on an angle, and its ears are almost invisible, buried under thick fur.
CONSERVATION STATUS: CRITICALLY ENDANGERED
More Information: https://www.potoroo.org
NORTHERN HAIRY NOSED WOMBAT
This is one of Australia’s rarest marsupials: the species is found in only one location in the wild; only 115 wombats were recorded in 2005; and none live in captivity.
Although once widespread in NSW, Victoria and Queensland, this wombat only lives in alluvial sand habitats, so the northern hairy-nosed wombat was probably always the least numerous of Australia’s three wombat species. At the time of European settlement, only three populations were recorded: near Deniliquin NSW; Moonie River near St George in Southern Queensland; and the Epping Forest of Central Queensland.
The Deniliquin and Moonie River populations became extinct in the early 1900s due to a combination of introduced grazing animals and drought. The remaining population at Epping Forest declined dramatically for similar reasons.
CONSERVATION STATUS: CRITICALLY ENDANGERED
More Information: https://wildlife.org.au/northern-hairy-nosed-wombat/
As their name suggests, the Barking Owl are known for their barking call. These nocturnal birds have been known to terrify unsuspecting people with their night time calls.
Our Victorian state animal emblem, the Leadbeater’s Possum was thought to be extinct until found in the central highlands of Victoria. They continue to be threatened by the reduction through logging and wildfire of suitable hollow trees to build their bark nests. Zoos Victoria has begun an urgent recovery program as one of our priority native threatened species. We have sponsored the building of two possum boxes for these important little creatures. There are less than 1000 adults left in the wild.
More information: www.leadbeaters.org.au
Tasmanian Devils were once widespread across Tasmania. Now on the endangered list, a shocking 85% of the wild populations are affected by a facial-tumor. Zoos Victoria and The Wild Devil Recovery Program are committed to saving this unique species and is part of a captive breeding program, which will hopefully return a healthy population to the wild.
The Greater Bilby – Macrotis Lagotis – is a solitary, nocturnal, omnivorous marsupial. It is also known as the rabbit-eared bandicoot.
Bilbies used to cover 70% of Australia but they have been lost from 80% of their former range due to predation by feral cats, foxes & wild dogs.
Bilbies are over 15 million years old and naturally they feature in dreamtime. Bilby is a very important animal for Aboriginal people. Its common name comes from the Yuwaalayaay word, Bilba. Aboriginal languages have different names for Bilby. In one example the bilby is called ‘Ninu’. Unusually, many languages have a separate name for the Ninu’s tail because it was super valuable. Like most Australian animals, Bilby was a meat animal because Aboriginal people needed food. The Ninu tail was made into body decorations that revealed the beauty and virility of women and men. Bilby were also a part of Tjukurrpa stories that connect people to places and people to each other along songlines.
More information: https://savethebilbyfund.com/
The spotted-tailed quoll is mainland Australia’s largest marsupial carnivore. It was one of the first Australian animals to be encountered by Europeans; Arthur Phillip’s party collected one at Port Jackson in 1788.
As a top predator, the spotted-tailed quoll probably plays an important role in regulating the populations of other animals that it eats.
There are three sub-species of spotted-tailed quoll:
- Dasyurus maculatus gracilis from the wet tropics of north-eastern Queensland
- D. m. maculatus from south-east Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria
- an as-yet-unnamed subspecies from Tasmania.
The subspecies differ subtly from one another in body size, coat colour and patterning, and genetics.
More information: https://wildlife.org.au/spotted-tailed-quoll/
Yogi, Milton and Elliot Koala
Yogi spends most of his day cuddled up at the top of his favourite tree in his favourite perch. Yogi is well known for his grunting announcement of dinner time every afternoon.
Elliott is a quiet koala who secretly likes to follow his keepers around to try and steal a cuddle. He is best
friends with Milton, who he shares
More information: https://www.savethekoala.com/
SPLATTERPUS THE PLATYPUS
Splatterpus spends his days at Taronga Zoo swimming around the enclosure and feasting on insects, freshwater shrimps, snails, mussels, water mites and worms. His best friend is Bill and they love to just hang around and chat by the big log.
More information: https://platypus.asn.au/
The Richmond birdwing butterfly (Ornithoptera richmondia) is the largest subtropical Australian butterfly. It was once abundant from Maryborough in southern Queensland to Grafton in northern NSW, breeding in rainforest habitat wherever the food plants were plentiful. Much of this land was eagerly sought after for grazing and subtropical agriculture due to its rich soils.
In 1870 the butterfly was reported in newspapers as occurring in the thousands on the streets of Brisbane, but by 1926 natural history enthusiasts noticed a massive decline in the south, west and east of the city.
More information: https://wildlife.org.au/richmond-birdwing-butterfly/
Gliders are nocturnal possum-like animals that live in Australia’s woodlands and forests. They are marsupials – so are born in a very incomplete state: minute, blind, hairless, with only partially formed hind limbs, and the embryos develop in a marsupium or pouch.
They are arboreal which means they are tree dwellers rather than ground dwellers and have a varied diet including leaves, nectar, pollen, sap and insects.
Their defining characteristic is the membrane that allows them to glide and extends between the fore and hind limbs.
The angle and speed of their glide vary depending on the ratio of their body weight to the surface area of their membrane.
All seven species of Australian glider are found in Queensland, six of them in the south-east of the State.
They range in size from the tiny feathertail glider, which can sit in a child’s hand, to the solitary and regionally vulnerable greater glider. All species are dependant on hollows and as a result, are found only in habitats containing hollow-bearing trees.
More Information: Click on the links on the links below to find out more about each species.
- Feathertail glider
- Greater glider
- Mahogany glider
- Squirrel glider
- Mahogany glider
- Yellow-bellied glider
- Sugar glider
The dingo is an iconic Australian animal. They first arrived in Australia around 5000 years ago via ocean-going seafarers. These descendants of Asiatic wolves play an important role in Australia’s ecosystem by keeping the number of foxes and feral cats down. A dingoes habitat ranges from deserts, to grasslands and the edges of forests. They can use caves, rocky outcrops and hollow logs as a den often close to a water supply.
More information: https://www.bushheritage.org.au/species/dingoes
Also known as spiny anteater, nyingarn (Beeloo, WA), tjilkamata (Pitjantjatjara, Central Australia), minha kekoywa (Pakanh, Cape York Peninsula)
Tachyglossus means ‘quick tongue’, referring to the speed with which the echidna uses its tongue to catch ants and termites. Aculeatus means ‘spiny’.
The species was first described in writing on 9 February 1792 in Captain Bligh’s log on HMS Bounty. In the same year, naturalist George Shaw first gave the echidna a scientific name.
There are five subspecies of short-beaked echidna in Australia, each with its own distribution.
More information: https://www.bushheritage.org.au/species/echidna