WITH his tiny stature and distinct protruding nose, Gonzo is the perfect name, animal lover Michael Church believes, for the latest member of his collection of endangered and protected species.
Weighing less than 400 grams and at just 30 days old, the potoroo fits perfectly in the palm of Mr Church’s hand.
The co-founder of The Rookeepers in Ballarat says Gonzo is the first potoroo he has raised from birth at his wildlife sanctuary, which is home to more than 10 wildlife species.
Mr Church says he bought Gonzo’s mum and dad more than two years ago in a bid to protect and breed the endangered Victorian species.
Although long-nosed potoroos breed throughout the year, they only give birth to a single joey at a time.
“Potoroos are a species which not many people know about because they are quite rare in Victoria,” he says.
Being ground-dwellers portaroos can have a low survival rate because they are easy prey for feral cats, foxes and owls.
Gonzo feeds on a meal of 20 millimetres of milk 3 to 6 times a day.
Once matured, Gonzo will feed on fungi, roots, fruit, flowers, seeds, insects and truffle.
When he is old enough, Gonzo will join Mr Church on tours around the Ballarat region with his collection of endangered and protected species, teaching people about animal populations and their environment.