Taronga Western Plains Zoo's sanctuary in Dubbo is home to an important Greater Bilby conservation breeding program.
Located behind-the-scenes it is the engine room for breeding Greater Bilbies to ultimately be released into protected areas and to support wild populations.
Recently the zoo's team spent four nights and one early morning out in the cold in the sanctuary catching bilbies to identify new additions to the population and assess their health.
Monitoring the population has revealed that founder animals have now had at least five to seven litters each. We estimate there are now three generations of Greater Bilbies roaming this 110-ha habitat learning wild behaviours...Greater Bilby keeper Steve Kleinig
"This is a big task but our team were up for the challenge and rewarded with identifying 19 new bilbies, eight males and 11 females," Greater Bilby keeper Steve Kleinig said.
"Some of these bilbies were smaller juveniles but a few were mature and showed signs of breeding with either pouch young or signs of lactating which means they have a joey at foot," he said.
The most recent night-time count is part of the zoo team's ongoing work to monitor the Bilby population in the sanctuary since founder animals were released there over 18 months ago.
"Monitoring the population has revealed that founder animals have now had at least five to seven litters each.
"We estimate that there now three generations of Greater Bilbies roaming this 110-ha habitat learning wild behaviours such as socialisation, foraging and breeding that will put them in good stead for when they are released into the wild," Mr Kleinig said.
Saturday June 5 was World Environment Day, which this year focused on how we can reimagine, recreate and restore the environment around us.
Here at the zoo the team is working hard to do this for the Greater Bilby by creating a habitat for the animals to thrive here in Dubbo and supporting wild populations by releasing bilbies into Wild Deserts in the Sturt National Park to help bring bilbies back to this area.
"Everyone has the ability to make a small change in their life to benefit the environment, this small change now can have a big impact in the long run.
"We encourage everyone to see what change they can make on the back of World Environment Day," keeper Steve Kleinig said.