We join the keepers at Sydneys Taronga zoo as they nurture and develop their newest arrivals, including Maiya the red panda and Kamini the pygmy hippo. A photo-essay by Jonny Weeks
Lily and Blossom are about to be toilet trained at Taronga zoo. The two young sugar gliders are curled up together inside a wooden box within a personnel bathroom while trainer Suzie Lemon is trying to coax them out with the promise of a sugary, sap-like treat. Lily eventually emerges and promptly peeings all over the floor but Lemon doesnt seem to mind. After all, theyre not here for that kind of lavatory training.
Were developing them to glide over to us on cue to demonstrate their natural gliding behaviour, Lemon explains. We needed an enclosed space, somewhere with four solid walls, because in future theyre going to be doing this for education purposes in the new learning centre.
These two are both young so theyve got to build their confidence and learn how to aim.
Lemon creates her palms to form a wide landing pad and beckons Lily over. When the marsupial takes off it spreads its legs to disclose wing-like membranes before landing on Lemons wrists.
They do a bit of head-bobbing that are intended to judge the distance before taking off, she says, but sometimes they overshoot. And, obviously, sometimes they pick their own target, such as the nearest leg.