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Last sync:2023-09-26 20:15
Jessi and Augusto say goodbye to the bettongs after deciding that they needed to focus on the the mission of Animal Wonders, which is rescuing displaced animals and wildlife education. While supporting captive breeding programs for endangered species is a great cause, Animal Wonders will now have to support that cause from a distance as they focus time and resources on the continuing mission of rescuing and education.

If you want to see a bit about the breeding program we had:
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Welcome to Animal Wonders. I'm Jessi and I have a little adventure to share with you.

For several years we had a wonderful breeding pair of brush-tailed bettongs. That's a critically endangered marsupial native to Australia. Quigley and Babette were their names, and they were awesome.

While we had them, we were placing their joeys in other educational facilities where they educate and they also go on into breeding programs where they make babies of their own and all the future would be happy and bright, yay! And we were so grateful to be part of this amazing conservation effort.

We first started having thoughts about our situation about four months ago when our fourth joey Dundee, we started having trouble finding him a home. After five homes fell through, I mean FIVE homes fell through, we decided to put brakes on it and just keep them temporarily.

So then Babette got a fifth joey in her pouch, Sydney, and we looked for homes for her as well, and she wasn't ready to go yet.

So Augusto and I sat down and we talked and we thought and we discussed things, and we decided that it was best to send our breeding pair on to a facility that could devote 100% of their time, or an employee's time to making that conservation effort work. Even though we 100% support breeding in captivity for endangered species, that's not Animal Wonders' mission. Our mission is to rescue animals, so we felt it was... it was the right decision for Animal Wonders and for the bettongs and for the species as a whole.

So we started making some phone calls and we called, contacted the facility where we got Quigley from originally and we asked them if they had room to take him and Babette back, and they said yes. They were very interested because they had just lost their colony in a tragic thing that happened, and so they had the open enclosure, the open space and they were really excited to be able to start again.

And then we got a phone call from one of the potential homes for Dundee that had fallen through, saying that they had another contact for a facility that had a young female named April, and she was looking for a mate, a male. And so we contacted them, wonderful facility. I couldn't think of a better place for Dundee to go to. It's open to the public, it's free, open to the public, kind of like a mini zoo and they do conservation breeding programs and education. It's just a perfect fit. So everything was set.

So now it's time to figure out how to get these bettongs to their new homes. We contacted the airport, Delta, and we said, okay we have to ship these guys off to these locations, and we set up the date and time. So, the flight was set to leave at 6:10 am. We have to get there two hours before, but they don't open until 4:30. So we got there 4:30 am, but to get there at 4:30 am means we have to leave the house at 3:30 am, which means we have to start getting them packed up at 3:00 am.

And that's where I'm going to leave you, 3:00 am in the morning. Let's go on an adventure.


It is 3:00 am, actually it's 3:18 am, and we're getting ready to bring the bettongs to the airport. We have decided to ship them off to other facilities, and it's kind of sad, but it's also kind of a good thing. It's a really good thing. Quigley and Babette are going together and the little joey, whatever it is in the pouch, are all going to the same facility and hopefully they're going to transition well and continue to have little joeys. And our seven month old male Dundee is also going to another facility, and I'm so excited about that one, because he's going to go meet up with a girlfriend there and it's a really, really nice facility and hopefully they make little, friendly little babies too.

So we're going to pack 'em all up and, uh, ship 'em off. Give them the best shot in life, as and individual and for the species as a whole. So I have two crates here. Um, this one's gonna be for Dundee and it's got his blanket that he's been using for the last couple days so his scent is gonna be there and I also have some shredded paper for him to bundle up in. He had food and then I'm not gonna put water in there... they're gonna sleep all day, because they're nocturnal. But I do have some juicy fruits in there in case they get thirsty.

And Quigley and Babette have this in here, a little bit bigger, and a divider in there so that they can get away from each other if they want to. Also a bunch of shredded paper and one of their old blankets that they've been using for the last week, so their scent will be in there as well, hopefully make it a smooth transition for them. That's what we've got going for them right now. I'm gonna go get them and, um, get them into the crates.

Hey there bud. Hi handsome. I know, I know.

So the last couple days, Dundee has gotten really, um... mature and excitable and he was living with his little sister Sydney... and that wasn't working out anymore. He got too mature. He matured. He was trying to reproduce with her. So we had to move him out and we put him in temporary holding in our hallway, and this is what he's done to it. He thought the plant was awesome digging and I just let him do it because what's the harm in a little dirt? So I'm going to go grab him right now. He's hiding out over here because I turned the light on.

Alright Dundee. Ready to go? You're gonna get a girlfriend. He's been one of our best joeys so far. It's kind of hard to see him go. You're gonna be an awesome ambassador where you go.

Watch your tail.

So Babette came to us, and she really did not like to be touched at all. She came to us when she was about two years old, and we've never worked with handling her; we just kind of let her be. And that's fine. The way that I'm going to handle her is I'm going to put gloves on because they have very, very sharp teeth and very powerful back legs with intense claws, so she could injure me pretty bad. I'm going to... pick her up by the base of her tail and try and get her hands near her feet to support her feet on me and then quickly transfer her into the crate. That's the plan. We'll see. And I have to also be really careful cause she does have a joey in the pouch.

Hi. Hi. Hi.

[Babette squeals]

So you can see that Babette was not handled when she was younger, and you can see it's pretty stressful for her to be handled by a human. So... Quigley on the other hand, he's much calmer and he was hand-raised, so that's the reason that we pull the joeys from being finished off by their mothers and we hand-raise them for the last week that they would drink milk. Less stressful.

Alright guys. It's also nighttime, so it's when these guys are most awake and most active and putting them in a smaller, you know, cozy area, they're gonna be a little upset at first. But during the flight, they're gonna fall asleep since they're nocturnal, and hopefully they'll have a nice, just drowsy, flight.

All right! We're ready to goooo!

So the reason that we're doing it so early is 1) We have to be there two hours before the flight is set to depart, and also we want to avoid the heat of the day. These guys are going to Nevada and Texas, and it's getting really hot there. I mean, it's the beginning of summer; it's getting really hot there during the afternoons. So... Quigley and Babette are scheduled to arrive at 11:30 in the morning in Nevada, and Dundee is going to get there just after noon, so we'll avoid the heat of the day, which is really important when you're shipping animals. You wanna avoid that. 

I know. I'm so distracted. I'm tired. 

We made it!

We did it. That was harder than I thought it was gonna be.

Female voice: Why do you think?

Jessi: Uh, I think it's just because I've had an emotional connection with them... I mean, these are not my pets, but I kind of consider them friends. I raised Dundee, and it's saying goodbye to a friend, and it's hard. But I know they're gonna go to a good place... I don't know, it's just... I'm not very practiced at saying goodbye to animals. I take them and rescue them; it's... I'm not used to it. No. Okay, I'm gonna start crying. Okay. Whew.

It's a new adventure for them, a new adventure for us. Life is full of different experiences. Definitely miss 'em. But it was quite an experience, getting to be part of this.