Queensland Zoo has been quietly building a reputation for what is one of Australia’s most encouraging and prolific animal breeding programs.
Pretty much every animal at the zoo, which is located beside the Big Pineapple, is breeding or displaying breeding behaviour.
It’s a unique but very heartening situation for the zoo’s owners and staff.
The move from the old Alma Park at Dakabin to the Sunshine Coast site – with its new surroundings and bigger and better enclosures – has proved to be a winner for the individual animals and also for the ongoing healthy survival of their species.
“Obviously, all the breeding shows our animals are content,” the zoo’s assistant manager Rebecca Roskilley said.
Here are some of their successes so far:
All six of the zoo’s breeding koalas have had joeys.
Their cute little Cotton Top Tamarin monkeys have had two sets of twins since the move to the Sunshine Coast.
The Common Marmasets, also a species of monkey, has delivered two sets of twins already this year.
Zola the baby Baboon was born at the zoo late last year. And other animals are awaiting the arrival at the zoo of partners to also start breeding.
“Our focus was on the koalas, but it was a surprise that we had six, because not all breeding is successful,” Ms Roskilley said.
“We’ve got six breeding females and six joeys, so all of them have joeys – a 100% success rate. Hopefully we can do it again.
“We had three dads and they each sired two joeys each, so it’s very good for the genetics as well.”
She noted the koalas were already displaying desires and behaviours suggesting they’re ready to breed again.
Meantime, primate handler Danni Chinn is excited by the zoo’s new baby monkeys.
“This is one of the most successful breeding groups in Australia,” she said of the zoo’s cute Tamarin monkey family.
“The two in the breeding pair are quite a good genetic makeup, they are very different to others in Australia, so their offspring will be quite sought after to breed with others.”
She said the new surroundings, with bigger and better enclosures, had done the trick.
“The change of environment is really good and enriching for the animals – by moving the zoo, they’ve been introduced to new surroundings, which has been very successful for them. The zoo started bringing the animals to the new site in October 2013. The last animals arrived at their new home in mid 2014.
“Since then, every animal at the zoo has shown very successful breeding behaviours,” MsChinn said.
It’s a situation that has the zoo staff smiling at their growing animal family, and hopeful that the cute little babies keep coming.