One of world’s rarest animal species born in Australia

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Sydney, July 19 (IANS) For the first time in five years, a northern hairy-nosed wombat was born in the Australian state of Queensland, it was announced on Wednesday.

The native creature, known as a joey, was born at the Richard Underwood Nature Refuge, 500 km west of Brisbane. It is one of the rarest species in the world with an estimated 250 left in the wild, Xinhua news agency reported.

“When we started this programme in 2009, the northern hairy-nosed wombat was down to just 138 left in the wild, at Epping Forest National Park,” Queensland Environment Minister Steven Miles said in a statement.

“The Underwood family, who allowed part of their property to be used as a nature refuge, have helped boost the recovery of this endangered species.”

To protect the troubled marsupial, the nature reserve was surrounded by predator-proof fencing and included a number of water stations for the wombats.

Staff and wildlife officers at the facility can also monitor the behaviour of the animals with the reserve’s state-of-the-art wildlife monitoring equipment and cameras.

“It’s been a long wait for the wombat specialist team,” Miles said. “But finally it was confirmed that the joey has successfully left the pouch.”

Although the animal was shy at first, the researchers said they expected it to become a lot more active.

“This little joey is an important new arrival for the colony, and highlights that this refuge provides suitable conditions for successful breeding,” Miles said.

–IANS

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