Drop bear breeding success a world first.

Date posted: 01 April 2016

Cleland Wildlife Park in Adelaide has had world-first success with its drop bear breeding program, with twin joeys born a month ago.

Cleland Manager James Sellers said the joeys were maturing quickly and were already starting to eat meat.

“Drop bears are notoriously difficult to breed in captivity,” Mr Sellers said.
“We’re very proud of what our keepers have achieved, as no other wildlife park or zoo in the world has had any success with its drop bears.
“They’re solitary animals and both males and females can react quite violently when they see each other. Sometimes the results can be fatal.”
Drop bears are an endangered sub-species of koala found in isolated pockets of bushland in South Australia, Victoria and New South Wales.
They are a little larger than the southern koala, with males weighing up to 20kg. They are also more agile and can leap from branch to branch as they hunt possums and birds.”
Mr Sellers said the simplest way to tell a drop bear from an ordinary koala was to look for the 10cm talon on the back toe of hind foot, used for disembowelling their prey.
“It’s a bit of a furphy that drop bears only attack tourists, because they’ll happily go for Australians as well,” he said.
“Smearing Vegemite on your forehead does nothing to protect you, either. If anything, it actually enrages them even more.”
He said anyone who saw a koala in the wild should leave it alone, just in case it turned out to be a drop bear.
“Until you get close, it’s quite hard to tell the difference between the two. Just let it go about its business and keep the kids and pets away.
“If it wants a steak from the barbecue, just give it one.”
The two drop bear joeys are expected to go on public display in a secure enclosure in the next couple of months.
Cleland also building an exhibit to display its newly-acquired southern barred hoop snakes, which should be on show in time for the school holidays.
The park is just 25 minutes from the Adelaide CBD and offers a range of native animal experiences, including getting up close and personal with koalas, kangaroos, wallabies, potoroos and reptiles.

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Georgia Gowing
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