|Range of Kowari|
Kowaris are quite prolific animals, with two litters of 5-6 young each year. The life expectancy in captivity is up to 6 years, but in the wild they probably live only one or two years at most. Their high reproductive rate compensates for the short lifespan. As a marsupial, they of course raise their young in a pouch. The young are born after a gestation period of around 30 days and are independent from around three months.
Although they do live in groups in the wild, in captivity Kowaris can be highly aggressive with each other outside the breeding season. Much larger enclosures than might be thought necessary for the size of the animal are best, as this gives them a chance to avoid each other. Except in large enclosures, Kowaris are often kept singly, only being allowed together during the breeding season. The captive diet is based around insects, egg, and rodents. As with many desert animals, they like to roll in sand to clean their fur, and this needs to be available. They also need branches to climb and a nestbox, with soft leaves abd hay to use as nest materials.
Bristol is the only zoo in the UK to hold Kowari at present. There are a few zoos in Europe which hold them, but the decision has been taken to increase the captive population and number of holders. It is intended that Bristol breeds from our animals and then distribute them to other British and mainland European zoos. This will enable zoos to use the Kowari as an exemplar animal for the condition of Australian mammals in general.