Zoo breeds Betty to save dying species
THIS little critter is so rare it was once thought to be extinct.
But thanks to conservation efforts, Rockhampton Zoo is now building up a steady population of the northern bettong.
Called a large rat by some, though more like a small kangaroo, the northern bettong, originally a native of the Dawson Valley, was officially declared extinct in the 1930s.
However, since the 1970s four colonies of the small marsupial have been found in North Queens- land.
Rockhampton Zoo acquired its first northern bettong about six months ago and with the birth of little Betty a few months ago, the zoo's population has risen to five.
Betty left her mother's pouch for the first time this week and the experience left zoo co-ordinator Simon Walton with a warm and fuzzy feeling
"It gave me goosebumps,'' he said.
Mr Walton said the northern bettong was part of the zoo's efforts to successfully breed endangered animals.
"There isn't a recovery program at the moment so we are making an effort to educate people about them.
"Most people haven't even heard of them.
"We can say to people this is an animal that used to live around Rockhampton but we destroyed their habitat.