Wombat Breeding Success at Taronga

After years of trying, Taronga Zoo keepers are finally celebrating the birth of Kibbar, an adorable Southern hairy-nosed wombat.

‘Kibbar’ means stone in Guringai language, which is suiting to what the keepers describe as a tough and independent joey. Kibbar is one of three joeys to be born in the past 5 years at Taronga. In the wild, Southern hairy-nosed wombats are seasonal breeders, so reproduction usually depends on food availability and joeys rarely survive through the dry season.

The experienced mother, Kora, has been part of Taronga’s breeding program for some time now and continues to play an important role in understanding the reproductive activities of both the Southern and Northern hairy-nosed wombat.

Kibbar exploring her new home [Photograph from Taronga Conservation Society]

While the number of Southern hairy-nosed wombats in the wild is declining due to a deadly skin disease and habitat destruction, it is nowhere near as low as the critically endangered Northern hairy-nosed wombat. It is estimated that less than 100 individuals exist in the wild today. “Obviously it’s lovely to see Korra with a young, but it’s just nice to know that this baby is potentially helping all those wombats in the wild that are suffering,” said Australian Fauna keeper, Farley Macdonald.

And Kibbar and Kora are doing just that! By understanding the seasonal breeding patterns and behaviours of the Southern hairy-nosed wombat, keepers are closer to finding ways of saving their endangered relatives. It would be such a shame if these adorable and iconic marsupials were to disappear.

Once Kibbar is old enough, she will also join the breeding program. But for now, she’s enjoying playing in the dirt and exploring her new home.

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