Potoroo Palace breeding program shares success with national zoos

HANDOVER: Georgia Clark from Canberra’s National Zoo and Potoroo Palace head keeper Vicki McPaul.

HANDOVER: Georgia Clark from Canberra’s National Zoo and Potoroo Palace head keeper Vicki McPaul.

Although an unusual choice of name for the Valley’s popular, not-for-profit native wildlife sanctuary, “Potoroo Palace” has always remained most apt.

It is home to a flourishing resident population of long-nosed potoroos, due to a successful ongoing conservation breeding program. The first potoroos arrived at the sanctuary from South Australia in 2007, becoming a journey of trial and error with breeding, but leading to increased success as the years have gone by. This has enabled the sanctuary to effectively contribute to the broader gene pool distribution by donating offspring to other institutions also involved with the conservation of this vulnerable species.

The most recent collaboration has been with Canberra’s National Zoo. Potoroo Palace this month provided the zoo with a pair each of long-nosed potoroos and rufous bettongs. Sydney’s renowned Taronga Zoo is also lucky to have secured six potoroos from the sanctuary.

“We are thrilled to be able to contribute with efforts in securing a future for this important little animal,” said Potoroo Palace head keeper Vicki McPaul.

“This is such a big part of what we are about, networking well with other communities and supporting conservation programs”.

The long-nosed potoroo, like many threatened native animals, plays a vital role in the survival of healthy forests. They disperse beneficial fungi spores as they forage and move around. These fungi form a major part of their diet, enabling eucalypt and acacia trees to absorb more water and nutrients, essential for seedling survival. They also play a key role in reducing the chance of fires by grazing undergrowth and turning over leaf litter.

This story Apt name for shire’s palace first appeared on Merimbula News Weekly.