Palace Shares Potoroos

Georgia Clark from Canberra’s National Zoo receives potoroos and bettongs from Vicki McPaul, Head Keeper at Potoroo Palace.

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 programme. The 1st 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, who are 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 them with a pair each of long-nosed potoroos and rufous bettongs. Georgia Clark, representing the zoo arrived in the zoo’s striking vehicle to whisk them back to Canberra in a luxurious air-conditioned journey to their new homes. Sydney’s renowned Taronga Zoo is also lucky enough 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 Vicki McPaul, Head Keeper at Potoroo Palace. “This is such a big part of what we are about, networking well with other communities and supporting conservation programmes”.

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.