Australian Reptile Park Celebrates First Koala Born Since Deadly Bushfires
An Australian zoo has welcomed its first koala joey since the crippling bushfires earlier this year.
Amid the storm of events 2020 has endured already, it can be easy to forget the devastation of the blazes Down Under where more than 12.6 million hectares of land were burnt to a crisp, 33 people died and more than a billion animals were killed.
However, over at Australian Reptile Park, a true flicker of light has emerged from the losses across the country: Ash the koala joey has entered the world.
We have a very special announcement… Our very first koala of the season has popped out of Mums pouch to say hello! 🐨Keepers have decided to name her Ash! Ash is the first koala born at the park since the tragic Australian bushfires and is a sign of hope for the future of Australia’s native wildlife.
Posted by Australian Reptile Park on Monday, May 25, 2020
Ash was actually born back in January, however joeys often stay in their pouches for up to seven months, so it was only safe to check on her well-being recently. According to the zoo’s staff, Ash is estimated to be around five months old and is ‘right on track to be emerging from the pouch for the first time’.
In a Facebook post, the New South Wales Central Coast zoo wrote: ‘Ash is the first koala born at the park since the tragic Australian bushfires and is a sign of hope for the future of Australia’s native wildlife.’
Speaking to news.com.au, zookeeper Dan Rumsey said:
They’re ambassadors for koalas in the wild: the ones who truly suffered in the bushfires. Koalas are iconic… and even though ours are bred in captivity, we like to think we’re helping the fairly decimated population. Ash represents the start of what we’re hoping to be another successful breeding season.
Across the bushfire season, Federal Environment Minister Sussan Ley told ABC News that more than 30% of NSW’s koala population may have perished. However, Ash looks to be the beacon for a successful breeding season – currently, there’s at least another three joeys in pouches at the zoo.
Rumsey added: ‘It was such an incredible moment when we saw Ash poke her head out of her mum’s pouch for the first time! Her mother Rosie has shown exemplary parenting skills and we know that Ash is in good paws.’
Australian Reptile Park is set to re-open tomorrow, June 1, after months of closure due to the current pandemic, with Rumsey adding that he’s ‘absolutely ecstatic to open our doors again’.
While I’ve been at work everyday, we know the animals have been missing the visitors. We’re taking every precaution to ensure the safety of our visitors, staff and animals and have implemented our COVID-safe reopening plan.
Across Australia, there have been 7,195 confirmed cases of the virus, with 103 deaths. At the time of writing, more than 6,600 people have recovered.
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