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A gorilla chose me (371 views)


Our silverback male gorilla, Otana, has been here for a year now and has well established his role as leader of the group. He will also become a dad to Melbourne Zoo’s first baby gorilla in 14 years when (all going well) Kimya will give birth early next year.

There is something captivating about Gorillas. Amazing strength matched with gentleness and intelligence. For 10 year old Miranda, a regular zoo visitor, they hold a very special place. She has been observing our gorillas for quite a while now and has written a poem about Otana that I just had to share:

A gorilla chose me
By Miranda, aged 10

A giant gorilla came to see me.
He knocked at my window- His
presence was known.
Through telling eyes, he told me his name- Otana he said, displaying his silver coat,
A symbol of pride.

With his chest puffed out and his bum perched high, he silently decides to shuffle sideways, ignoring my questions.
“Observe” he gestured, “that’s all you need, at least for today”.

A friendship was formed that very day, fragile yet
strong, that’s what I would say.
Too early to tell what it will become.
Wanting to know, wanting to learn.
Wanting to step through the glass, into
the unknown.
To understand his world, his life.
I say to myself, respect your ancestors.
They hold your past and call on you for their future.

Beware I am told from serious eyes,
Patience is needed, you mustn’t forget.
If family connections is what you yearn, you
need to earn my trust.
Learn my ways, know my bluff, and
Only then will my family meet your eyes.

A gorilla chose me, gave me hope and walked away.


A day for our threatened species (1001 views)

This Sunday is a special day for dads, but this year it’s also a day to think about helping our threatened species. Threatened Species Day is on September 7, a day that marks the date the last remaining Tasmanian Tiger died at Hobart Zoo in 1936.

An Orange Bellied Parrot on a branch.Orange-bellied Parrot

Do you have a favourite animal? Maybe one you think is the cutest, or the fastest, or the biggest, or even the smallest. Have you ever wanted to know which animal you’re most like?

Take the Fighting Extinction Quiz

You might be a Tasmanian Devil, or more like a Mountain Pygmy-possum? My animal was the Regent Honeyeater! A very cool bird indeed!

Regent HoneyeaterRegent Honeyeater

Here at Zoos Victoria we’re committed to fighting extinction and the Tasmanian Devil, the closest living relative to the Tasmanian Tiger, is just one of the 20 priority threatened species that we are devoted to saving through breeding and recovery programs. We are also working with visitors and supporters to reduce threats facing endangered wildlife.

Tasmanian DevilHappy Threatened Species Day and keep Acting Wild!

Bandicoot monitoring- day 9 (1480 views)

Wow! We set a record number of captures back on day 6 and last night…we smashed it!


We caught 31 bandicoots in one night and 6 were new animals! That brings our grand total for August to 56 adults including 31 new animals born in the wild, plus 56 pouch young! As we have caught new bandicoots every night, we are confident there are even more animals out there that we have not caught yet. The mainland Eastern Barred Bandicoot (EBB) is classified as extinct in the wild so we are thrilled to see the population is growing so well. The EBB’s at Woodlands also seem very healthy with lots of breeding in the population and animals at record weights. We caught some males over 1 kg in weight – and that is very big for a bandicoot!


The Melbourne Zoo Vet Team has also been out the past 2 days conducting health checks on the bandicoots. As they are with us for their checks during the day, we let them sleep in a safe box and then release them at dusk, when they would naturally wake in the wild.


It has been a big few weeks for us and our EBB’s and we are so pleased with all of the results. We will be out again monitoring the population in spring. Until then, catch you later beautiful bandicoots! We will see you again soon!


Bandicoot monitoring- day 8 (1424 views)


Day 8 of our Eastern Barred Bandicoot (EBB) trapping was another big success – 22 EBB’s and 2 of them were new! It was a little more overcast today, but luckily the rain held off until we were all finished. It still looked nice and bright in the park with wattle flowering everywhere!


When we catch new bandicoots we give them a microchip with an individual number and take a genetic sample (in the field we take a small amount of fur and we can extract DNA from the hair follicle). We work with partners at the University of Melbourne and CESAR to track the genetic health of the population and ensure everything is set up well for the future. The other locals seem to find all our work quite fascinating – we were closely watched by a mob of Kangaroos!


During our trapping we have also caught some of the usual suspects – Brushtail Possums! All of the possums looked very healthy and the females appear to be breeding very well too. There were many bulging pouches and we think Woodlands may have a bandicoot and possum baby boom!

brushy-bush_360x280A brushtailed possum heads back to the wild

We also caught a Ringtail Possum and a young rabbit. The rabbit was an interesting case – the trap was still wide open so he could have left at any time. Must have decided the warm fluff in the trap was too comfortable to leave. No wonder we are catching so many animals!

trapped-bunny_360x280A little rabbit who didn’t want to leave. Notice he wasn’t even interested in the food bait…?

Bandicoot monitoring- day 7 (1406 views)

Day 7 of our Eastern Barred Bandicoot (EBB) monitoring and it is another success story. We caught 18 bandicoots last night and 2 of them were new animals born in the wild!

laters_360x280An EBB bounds back to his wild home

All of the females had young in their pouches and one girl had 3 very large young that hardly fitted in her pouch anymore! These young are about 55 days old and at the stage where they enter and leave the pouch throughout the night, before finally growing too big to fit. When we first found this female and her big youngsters, all of the young were out exploring their warm fluffy bed inside the trap.

EBB-blanky_360x280The big babies exploring a bag. You can see the great stripes on their tails and ears. Photo: Jasmine De Milliano

We checked they were all healthy and placed them in a nice secure bag with their mother. When we checked again, all the young had gone back into the pouch to sleep… Well, they tried to fit at least. In the photo below, one sleepy baby could not fit so was snoozing with his head and feet hanging out of her pouch. We released mum and babies back to the wild together.

sleepy-youngster_360x280The big baby having a snooze with his head and feet sticking out from the pouch!

Bandicoot monitoring- days 5 and 6 (1921 views)

Amy-EBB-release_360x280Photo: Amy Coetsee

After a successful first round of Eastern Barred Bandicoot (EBB) monitoring in early August, our team from Conservation Volunteers Australia, Parks Victoria and Zoos Victoria were back out for round 2 at our newest EBB release site- Woodlands Historic Park. This is a critical site for us to fight extinction for this amazing species.

We had a big day setting up the traps with warm fluff, the bandicoot’s favourite bait food (peanut butter, rolled oats and honey) and new canvas covers to make sure our animals felt warm and secure.

Wheres-Bandy_360x280An EBB in the grass at Woodlands –what great camouflage!

We came back at dawn to see who we had found and…. it was a record! We caught 23 EBB’s, and 7 were new animals we had not seen before! Like last time, almost all of our females had young in their pouches (or they had elongated teats which suggests that young had just left the pouch). We were especially excited to see a female with four young in her pouch. Bandicoots generally have 2-3 young per litter and four young is very rare!

EBB-pouchyoung_360x280A pouch with 4 new babies – bandi-cute!

Unfortunately, we did find one male with an injured tail, so he came back for treatment with our Veterinary Team at Melbourne Zoo. I don’t know anyone who knows more about bandicoot health and treatments than our Vets so we are confident he is getting the best care for his sore tail and he will hopefully be released back to Woodlands soon. Everyone else were released after their check up back to their grassland homes.

Marrissa-ebb_360x280This is me releasing one of our bandicoots – what a great feeling!

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