What has four tiny paws, a long snout, big ears and is nocturnal?
A baby bilby that has just emerged from his mother’s pouch at the Queens Park Nature Centre – and he needs a name!
The bouncing baby bilby was discovered by staff on 10 September and described as the size of a jellybean in his mother’s pouch.
Senior Zoologist Nicole Richards said the timing of the 13 week old bilby could not be more perfect.
“He is so cute. He has come just in time for the Christmas holidays so all of our visitors can see him too,” Ms Richards said.
Staff have been monitoring the joey’s growth, the mother’s weight and diet over the past two and a half months.
He is still suckling milk from his mother and will continue to do so until fully weaned in a few weeks time.
Once weaned, the bilby will eventually go on to live in another zoo or released into a predator proof enclosure.
Quartz, the father and Tanami the mother were paired up in the enclosure in the hope that a romance would blossom and they would breed. Thankfully, this was successful and the birth of this baby bilby proves the success of the Ipswich Nature Centre’s breeding program.
Moving the new baby onto another facility ensures genetic diversity amongst this scarcely populated species.
“Through Save the Bilby Fund, Queensland Government, and the National Recovery Plan for the species, plans are in place for bilbies to be released into Currawinya National Park and the Australian Wildlife Conservancy Mt Gibson,” she said.
“The Ipswich Nature Centre has bred bilbies successfully in the past, with female triplets born in 2017. Each of these girls was relocated from the Ipswich Nature Centre to other facilities and one was released at the Australian Wildlife Conservancy Mt Gibson.”
“We are encouraging the community to help celebrate this little boy’s arrival by suggesting a name for him on our Ipswich City Council Facebook page,” she said.
Ipswich Nature Centre at Queens Park is open seven days a week during the school holidays from 9.30am to 4pm. They are closed Christmas Day.