Breakthrough Conservation and Breeding Programs Deliver Baby Bungarribee
Featherdale Wildlife Park, located in the region of Bungarribee in Western Sydney and home to the largest collection of native Australian animals in the world, has introduced the latest addition to its modern family. The adorable koala joey, named Bungarribee and lovingly nicknamed Gabby, has emerged from the pouch with an inquisitive nature, a fondness for people and a strong bond with her mother, Scout, who is never far away.
Bungarribee’s name is a symbol of Featherdale Wildlife Park’s mission to create a future where wild koalas and other endemic Australian animals will return to Bungarribee once more. The park is calling for the community’s green spaces to be earmarked for natural habitats, and this koala will be the champion of the cause with the hope of one day seeing her descendants thrive in the wild in Western Sydney.
Bungarribee was the result of science rather than courtship through Featherdale Wildlife Park’s world-class breeding program. The program, which follows best-practice husbandry guidelines, uses genetic technology to identify and match koalas for breeding based on the compatibility of their genes. This process ensures that the joeys are healthy and strong and have the best opportunity to thrive.
“Koala conservation is a huge focus for Featherdale Wildlife Park, and the birth of Bungarribee really represents our hope for a future where this incredible animal can thrive outside of captivity”, says Chad Staples, Director of Life Sciences. “It will be a pretty special day when our breeding program is simply the first step on a koala’s journey into the wild, although we’re a long way off from that being a reality”.
Today there are no wild koalas remaining in Bungarribee, a troubling reality which is representative of the wider koala crisis in New South Wales as the state fights to reverse an alarming decline in its koala population. Down almost 26% in just two decades according to the New South Wales Office of Environment and Heritage, rapid urban development has systematically destroyed koala habitats and is widely recognised as the reason behind their impending extinction.
Bungarribee was born in October last year, and the joey’s cuddly coat has been months in the making. Like all newborn koalas she was born blind, hairless and without ears, measuring just two centimetres long and less than one gram in weight. She then spent seven months growing and developing inside her mother’s pouch before emerging with the distinct koala characteristics adored by so many including large furry ears and a big black nose.
Come and celebrate baby Bungarribee with us!
Book via www.featherdale.com.au to score a 20% discount on all tickets and annual passes when you enter the code ‘SYDNEY’.
But hurry, this offer is only available until 27 September 2019.