1. ITV Report

Bristol Zoo first in UK to breed quolls

Bristol Zoo says it has become the first zoo in the country to breed quolls.

Six of the small marsupials have been born in the 180-year-old Zoo’s Twilight World and keepers say they are thrilled.

Eastern quolls are native to Australia, New Guinea and Tasmania but their numbers have drastically declined.

Eastern quolls are native to Australia, New Guinea and Tasmania Credit: Bristol Zoo

The tiny quolls, which are black with white spots, were born to mum Schwarz and dad Sirius who have been at the Zoo since March.

Keeper Paige Bwye says staff are “really proud to have bred them."

Everything has to be correct for them to breed. They have to be comfortable in their surroundings and the humidity and temperature have to be right.

– Paige Bwye
The quoll's parents have been at Bristol Zoo since March Credit: Bristol Zoo

When the pups were born they were the size of a grain of rice.

Paige says the baby quolls were born about 12 weeks ago.

The young marsupials have only been out of the pouch since the end of August and are only now starting to poke their heads out of the nest box.

We are keeping a close check on their development because so few places breed them and not much is known about them.

– Paige Bwye
Not much is known about the mysterious animals. Credit: Bristol Zoo

Zoo staff say quolls can only breed between a year and two and a half years old.

The animals are endangered and especially struggling to survive in the wild.

There are a number of quoll conservation programmes taking place in Tasmania and a breeding programme at Perth Zoo in Western Australia.