Orphaned Tree Kangaroo Saved in World First

Tree kangaroo at Adelaide Zoo

World conservation first: An orphaned tree kangaroo was cross-fostered by a rock wallaby and survived! Photo by Adelaide Zoo.

The keepers and veterinarians at Adelaide Zoo have saved the life of an orphaned Goodfellow’s tree kangaroo by using a surrogate wallaby mother! This exciting achievement is a world first for conservation.

One morning in November of last year, zoo keepers discovered that a tree branch had fallen and killed the zoo’s three-year-old tree kangaroo overnight. She was carrying a five week old joey. Since the joey was so young, hand-rearing was not an option. They decided to use a technique called “cross-fostering”, which involves transferring the joey to the pouch of another animal.

Tree kangaroo joey being transferred.

The orphaned tree kangaroo joey was transferred to the pouch of a rock wallaby. Photo by Adelaide Zoo.

In the 1990s, Adelaide Zoo pioneered this cross-fostering technique on endangered wallabies. In this situation, zoo keepers would transfer the endangered wallaby joey to the pouch of a surrogate wallaby of another, non-endangered species. The original endangered wallaby female would then be able to restart her breeding cycle, increasing her reproduction rate up to six or eight times.  This allowed the zoo to build up the endangered population much more quickly.

According to Adelaide Zoo veterinarian Dr David McLelland, “We’ve had great success over the years’ cross-fostering between wallaby species, but the specialized breeding technique has never been used on a tree kangaroo. Not only are tree kangaroos distant relatives of wallabies, they also have many behavioral and physical differences. We had no idea if the yellow-foot rock wallaby would accept the tree kangaroo joey, but if we wanted to save the joey we had to try our luck.”

The gamble worked, and the orphaned tree kangaroo thrived in the pouch of his surrogate rock wallaby mother. The joey, named Makaia, spent about three and a half months in the pouch until being hand-reared by zoo staff.

Tree kangaroo joey in rock wallaby pouch

Makaia, the tree kangaroo joey, can be seen here inside the pouch of his surrogate mother, a rock wallaby. Photo by Adelaide Zoo.

The amazing rescue story of Makaia will be featured in the July/August edition of Australian Geographic, available July 3.

Watch a video of Makaia below:

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Tiger Summit Discusses the Future of Wild Tigers

Politicians and wildlife conservation organizations are currently convening to discuss the dire state of wild tiger populations.  Experts have concluded that only 3,200 tigers are left in the wild.  This is a stark contrast to the 100,000 tigers that once roamed the world a century ago.  Participants of the tiger summit are proposing plans to double tiger populations by the year 2022, which is the next Chinese Year of the Tiger.

The plan includes measures to:

  • Cut down on poaching, smuggling, and illegal trade of tigers and their body parts
  • Conserve tiger habitat, including their breeding grounds
  • Create incentives for local communities to become part of the tiger conservation effort

To ensure success and bolster tiger populations, the 13 countries that still have tigers would have to raise $350 million dollars for the first 5 years of the plan, and they would would need the cooperation and support of international organizations and other governments.

Amur tiger on the prowl.

Can the tiger summit save wild tigers?

To learn more about the tiger summit, visit: Bloomberg News.

For information about the Siberian or Amur tiger, see Animal Fact Guide’s article: Siberian Tiger.

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6-Year-Old Donates Savings to Help Sea Turtles

Six year old Daniel Atkinson loves marine mammals and wants to help them.  When he looked at the Florida Aquarium website when planning a trip with his mother, Daniel read about the emergency rescue of cold-stunned turtles.  Daniel decided that he needed to help, so he emptied his piggy bank and told his mom to send it to the aquarium.

Daniel’s donation of $53.50 was accompanied by a note urging the aquarium to use the money to buy antibiotics and fluids for the turtles.

When Daniel finally got to visit the aquarium on Friday he got a behind the scenes tour. Daniel was allowed to get up close and personal with some of the rescued turtles.

Read the whole story CFNews13.com.

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Wildlife Saving

Wildlife Saving is an organization for children which offers the opportunity to sponsor an animal. The organization has several animals at various wildlife centers around the world that can be sponsored.  Each animal has information provided for those who donate. This includes photos and videos of the animal and blog posts from the animals caretakers.

The site requires registration to donate to an animal. To make this safe for children, they comply with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act.  Parental permission is also required for children to register. They also keep donation prices quite low, from 4 dollars to sponsor for 3 months to 13 dollars for a year.

To learn more, visit their site WildlifeSaving.org.

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Black-footed Ferrets Reintroduced

black-footed-ferret09062Grasslands National Park in Saskatchewan, Canada is now the home of 34 endangered black-footed ferrets. On Friday evening scientists and conservationists released the animals into the park in an effort to reintroduce them to their natural habitat.

The ferrets were nearly extinct until 1981, when a colony was found in Wyoming. This group was used to increase the population. Scientists and zoos from Canada and the United States worked together to breed and reintroduce the black-footed ferret.

After several years of effort, the ferrets were ready for release into the wild.

For more, visit CBCNews.

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Friend a Gorilla: Help an Endangered Mountain Gorilla Through Social Networking

Uganda GorillaThe Uganda Wildlife Authority is launching a new program to help raise funds and awareness for the very endangered mountain gorilla.

Starting this Saturday, September 26, you can friend or follow specific gorillas living in Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable Forest on Facebook or Twitter for a minimum donation of $1. You will get updates on your gorilla friend(s), including photos, videos, and GPS coordinates – all data gathered by actual trackers that visit the gorillas daily.

According to Lillian Nsubuga, a spokeswoman for the Uganda Wildlife Authority, “For people who think Uganda is a village in Kenya or have only ever heard of the country because of (former dictator) Idi Amin, we want to create a new, more beautiful image. We’re hoping that the online fans will one day come to Uganda to meet their gorilla friends for real.”

For more information about the Friend a Gorilla program, see:
USA Today
FriendA Gorilla.org

To learn more about endangered mountain gorillas, see Animal Fact Guide’s article: Mountain Gorilla.

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Canadian Helps Afghanistan Open First Preserve

20090423_afghanlakeThe perennial fighting in Afghanistan has led to the decline of many animals and fish native to the country. In the midst of the war torn country lies something new, a wildlife preserve.

The preserve, called Band-e-Amir, was established in April of last year with the help of Canadian wildlife biologist Chris Shank. The preserve is the home to nearly 5,000 people who graze animals, farm, and fish on the land.

It is hoped that the preserve will help protect against habitat destruction for wild goats, sheep, wolves, foxes, birds, and fish, all of which have been depleted though illegal hunting, trade, and poaching. In some instances, fisherman use explosives which kill all aquatic creatures in the vicinity.  Other animals, like the snow leopard, have been completely wiped from the area.

Plant life has not fared much better than animal life.  Overgrazing and overfarming have ruined some tracts of land, as has deforestation and illegal harvests.

The overall goal is to conserve the land and animals for the betterment of the people who live there.

For more visit The Canadian Press or USAID/Afghanistan.

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Giant Panda Cub Arrives in San Diego

Bai Yun, a giant panda, and her cubBai Yun, who was reported last month to be pregnant, has given birth to a cub this week. She has given birth to four other cubs in her life: Hua Mei, Mei Sheng, Su Lin and Zhen Zhen. The most recent cub has yet to be named.

Although it was possible that she would give birth to twins, it appears that she will not give birth to the second cub. Pandas have the ability to reabsorb a fetus if it is not fully developed.

Read more at the LA Times.

Check out the San Diego Zoo Panda Cam.

Read more about giant pandas on Animal Fact Guide.

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New Monkey Found In Brazil

Researchers have found a distinct new subspecies of monkey related to the saddleback tamarins. The researchers have named the new subspecies ‘Mura’s saddleback tamarins’ named after the Mura Indians, an ethnic group in the region the monkey was discovered. Although newly discovered the monkey is already threatened by development plans, including a new highway.

For more visit ScienceDaily.

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Stripe-less Tiger

Fareeda, a white Bengal tiger, has recently turned six months old and has yet to develop any stripes. Her handlers say that she probably will never develop stripes if she has not already. That makes Fareeda one of the rarest tigers in the world. There are twenty other stripe-less tigers in the world. All are in captivity. Fareeda was bred as part of conservation program in South Africa.
For more visit The Telegraph.

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