Cross-fostering in marsupials refers to the transfer of pouch young from a target species into the pouch of a foster mother of the same species (intra-species) or a closely related species (inter-species). This technique together with short-term isolation of pouch young can be a valuable tool for increasing the reproductive output of endangered marsupials. In this study we investigate the use of cross-fostering and pouch isolation techniques to assist with hairy-nosed wombat recovery efforts. As an initial step towards achieving this end we report on the first successful intra-species pouch young isolation and fostering studies in a vombatid marsupial. Fifteen pouch young were fostered between female southern hairy-nosed wombats in 1997 and 1998, ranging in age from 16 to 146 days. Six of these females were recaptured between four and eleven months later and all were either still carrying the cross-fostered young or showed evidence of late lactation on the same teat. Pouch young isolation studies in the southern hairy-nosed wombat demonstrated that young as small as 0.43 g can be successfully isolated from the pouch for up to 8 hours at 23 degrees and 100% humidity; however, until more tests are available, we recommend a minimum age and size of 10 days and 100 g respectively. Results of this study provide baseline Information to assist with the future development of cross-fostering and pouch young isolation techniques in hairy-nosed wombats to enhance breeding in wild and/or captive colonies.
|Number of pages||5|
|Journal||Pacific Conservation Biology|
|Publication status||Published - 1 Dec 2007|
- Assisted reproduction