A little baby koala joey has been fitted with a teeny tiny cast to repair her broken arm after falling from a tree on a logging plantation.
The poor little creature was taken to Weribee Open Range Zoo last month after miraculously surviving the long fall at the Victorian bluegum plantation.
Sadly, the koala joey’s mother was severely injured by the fall and had to be euthanised, but the adorable joey continued fighting.
The orphaned infant weighed less than half a kilogram and should still be in her mother’s pouch at just 150 days old.
Veterinary nurse Jess Rice told the Geelong Advertiser:
It was really touch and go when she was brought to us.
She was just at the stage where she would have been starting to poke her head out of mum’s pouch. Joeys that size don’t have a good survival rate in care.
Thanks to round the clock care from dedicated vets at the zoo, which included feeding with a marsupial milk replacement through a syringe, the little joey is making a strong recovery.
The strong little creature had an x-ray when it was first brought to the zoo, which revealed its right arm had been broken. Vets fitted a miniature cast to its arm to help heal her teeny tiny bones.
Vet Jess also managed to find a surrogate mother for the baby in the form of a stuffed koala toy.
Bonding and company is really important to a joey of that age. Koala joeys are often given toys to provide comfort and teach them how to hang off the fur like they would with their mother.
Last week, the zoo released the little joey to an animal carer to look after her during the final months of its recovery. The baby koala is expected to be released back into the wild in around one year’s time.
Koalas are believed to have a life expectancy of around 12 years, according to the Australian Koala Foundation. However they estimate at least 4,000 koalas are killed by cars and dogs each year, with habitat destruction being the greatest threat to the creature’s long term survival.
At least with the dedicated care from vets like Jess Rice at Weribee Open Range Zoo, these koalas are being given their best possible chance at surviving in life.
Here’s to wishing the baby joey a speedy recovery.
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Emma Rosemurgey is an NCTJ trained Journalist who started her career by producing The Royal Rosemurgey newspaper in 2004, which kept her family up to date with the goings on of her sleepy north east village. She graduated from the University of Central Lancashire in Preston and started her career in regional newspapers before joining Tyla (formerly Pretty 52) in 2017, and progressing onto UNILAD in 2019.