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Featuring joey #4!! Brush-tailed bettongs are critically endangered, but we can help bring them back from the brink! By breeding them in captivity we can ensure the survival of a diverse gene pool to introduce back into wild populations.

Bettongs are important for their ecosystem because they do a lot of digging (natural tilling) to find their preferred food - fungi. The fungi are eaten and the spores are digested and eliminated whole, spread into new areas and ready to grow more fungi. The feces/fungi allow the plants in the area to absorb nutrients for efficiently resulting in approximately three times increased growth! The animals in the ecosystem benefit from eating or sheltering in the large plants. The humans in the area also benefit because they can eat/use the benefited plants or animals, and/or because they are farmers who survive off of their crops growing bigger and stronger.

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Now that right there has a joey in her pouch. You can see she's a little bit tired. I'd be tired too if I was carrying around a big joey in my pouch all day long. Her favorite food is cashews and that's what I'm trying to give her right now. Would you like a cashew? (Squeaking) 'No thanks. I've eaten enough today.' Buck Quigley is enjoying his peanut back there. You can see that they hop just like kangaroos would. And they use their tails to help them balance. You can just see how huge her pouch is, it's so neat! I love how it just-- she can suck it up like that when she bounces around, and then when she stops she can just relax, and it just kind of sinks down like a big pot belly (Laughing).

Each and every one of our little joeys born is incredibly important. He is number four from our little breeding pair of Quigley and Babette, they're doing a wonderful job and, uh, number four is just as important as number one, and I hope that we continue to have more and more. These guys are being sent to other facilities that are going to educate about how amazing these little guys are, and, uh, how important they are to their environment, but then they're also working on having, um,  a breeding colony, a captive-bred breeding program, so that we can continue in the United States to keep up, uh, these guys thriving in captivity as well.

We just pulled the little baby bettong joey and I am going to weigh him, so I'm gonna go ahead and put him in the pouch, bed him down in there so he feels nice and cosy. And I'm gonna weigh him to see if he's ready to be pulled from momma's pouch yet. He has to be over 200 grams, and so we're going to see right now if he's over 200 grams-- here you go, bud. So, 268. And then I'm going to weight the pouch-- 70. So he's, um, 198 grams! So he is going to go back with mom for like a day or two and then he'll be ready to come out and join the world, join all of us. Isn't he so cute!

Gonna go ahead and put little joey back with mama. He can continue nursing for a little while. Good job, Babette, very patient. Happy baby. (Laughing) Just barely fits.

We're going to weigh him... And he is two twenty one, 221 grams which means he is doing really well for being away from mom. So we pulled him about a week ago, uh, just after he gained over 200 grams and he is growing so fast, you can tell he is just so much bigger than he was a week ago. He is learning how to hop, and run, and jump, and be adorable, and get around in the world. (Pause) And we're so excited he's doing so well.

This guy has a really, really important job! He is part of a population of animals that is critically endangered and it's really difficult to bring an endangered species back from the brink, and they're not just endangered, they're critically endangered! There's about... There's about five thousand left in the entire world and that's in captivity, in the wild, and so we're working really hard to keep these guys going in captivity so when they are able to be reintroduced to the wild, we have a nice diverse genetic background for these guys to... to thrive in the wild. 

No, really, everyone loves the bettong. These guys can really do no evil. They do wonderful things in their environment! These guys have amazing little claws and they're nocturnal-- they're going to hop around at night and they're going to be digging up fungi, um, and they eat that. There's little bugs in their hindgut that digest it, make it, I like to call it sugar poop, um, it allows the plants to absorb more nutrients, so it's like nature's own Miracle Grow, it gets them growing three times faster and stronger than if a bettong wasn't digging around their roots and poopin' around and eating the fungi and everything like that. So it's wonderful, the bettongs love eating the fungi, it's good for the fungi to spread around, get their spores spread around, it's good for the plants, it's good for the animals that eat those plants and live in those plants, it's good for farmers because they want their plants to grow faster and stronger too! So really everyone loves the bettong, they're a very important part of their environment.

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