Taronga Zoo’s endangered animals breeding program has been boosted by the birth of two Echidna puggles.
The puggles, who hatched in August 2018 to two separate mothers, are a promising step in the ongoing breeding and conservation of this species. The puggles are only the seventh and eighth to be born in the history of Taronga Zoo Sydney.
It is hoped that what keepers learn about the successful reproduction of Short-beaked Echidnas can be applied in the conservation of the critically-endangered Long-beaked Echidna found in Papua New Guinea and Indonesia.
The puggles are nearly four months old and are not ready for public display because they still require continued care from their mothers and keepers.
Echidnas are known to be a very challenging species to breed in a zoo environment, because they display very complex courtship behaviours.
The Short-beaked Echidna is the most widespread native mammal in Australia, there is still a lot to be learnt about this species due to their cryptic behaviour and reclusive nature.
Echidnas, although iconic, are unusual animals known as monotremes – mammals that lay eggs. Despite being warm-blooded, their young puggles are hatched from eggs and mothers produce milk for their puggles in their pouch.
NSW Minister for Environment, Local Government and Heritage Gabrielle Upton said that it’s incredible that the breeding behaviour of some of Australia’s most iconic wildlife is not yet fully understood.
“Having the treatment facilities so the mother and newborns have best chance of survival is of utmost importance. I am proud that Taronga Zoo Sydney is helping to advance understanding of this protected NSW species,” Minister Upton said.
Source: NSW Government