Koala

First Koala Joey of the Season at Taronga Zoo

1_Wanda's Joey_Photo by Paul Fahy (1)

Taronga Zoo is celebrating the arrival of its first Koala joey for this year’s breeding season, with a tiny face starting to emerge from its mother’s pouch. The female joey has been spotted mouthing its first eucalyptus leaves and slowly exploring the world outside the pouch, to the delight of keepers and visitors.

“She’s still quite shy, but we’re beginning to see her little face more and more,” said Koala Keeper, Laura Jones. 

2_Wanda's Joey_Photo by Paul Fahy (13)

3_Wanda's Joey_Photo by Paul Fahy (17)

4_Wanda's Joey_Photo by Paul Fahy (18)Photo Credits: Paul Fahy/Taronga Zoo

Part of Taronga’s Koala breeding program, the yet-to-be-named joey is the third for experienced mother, Wanda. “Wanda is a very relaxed and attentive mum. She keeps her little one nice and close at all times and I’ve never seen her complain when the joey is scratching around with its claws inside her pouch,” said Laura.

At six months old, the joey will continue to gain weight and the fluffy fur for which Koalas are known. She will spend, at least, another four months with her mother before venturing out on her own. “It won’t be long before she can’t fit back inside the pouch. At that point she’ll start to cuddle up with mum, only putting her head back inside the pouch to drink,” said Laura.

Tour groups have begun meeting Wanda and her joey at Taronga’s Koala Encounter, where they learn more about one of Australia’s most iconic species and how they are under threat from urban development and forestry breaking up their natural habitat.

Laura said it was important for people to watch out for Koalas on the roads at this time of year, particularly at dawn and dusk. “The quality of food declines during winter, so potentially you’ll see Koalas ranging further and closer to high-density areas to find leaves,” she said.

The Koala is currently classified as “Least Concern” on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. However, in 2012, the Australian government listed Koala populations in Queensland and New South Wales as “Vulnerable”, due to a 40% population decline in Queensland and a 33% decline in New South Wales. Populations in Victoria and South Australia appear to be abundant; however, the Australian Koala Foundation argues that the exclusion of Victorian populations from protective measures is based on a misconception that the total Koala population is 200,000, whereas they believe it is probably less than 100,000.

More great pics, below the fold!

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Koala Joey Ready for His Close-Up

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Riverbanks Zoo and Garden, in South Carolina, was recently greeted by a new Koala joey. The male juvenile, born in May to ‘Lottie’ and ‘Jimmie’, emerged from mother’s pouch and has become quite the attraction. 

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10866262_10152672701700292_760693107489027150_oPhoto Credits: JMB Photography

The birth of the new Koala is a rare occurrence for a zoo in the United States. There is only an average of seven joeys born per year in 11 U.S. zoos with Koala exhibits, and only two were born in 2014.

Native to Australia, the Koala’s closest living relative is the wombat. They are mostly nocturnal, marsupials that often sleep 18-20 hours each day.

They prefer to live in the tall eucalypt forests and low eucalypt woodlands of mainland, eastern Australia and on some islands off the southern and eastern coasts. Although, there are well over 600 varieties of eucalypts, Koalas eat only some of these. They are fussy eaters and have strong preferences for different types of gum leaves.

In the wild, young females generally give birth to one young per year, and older females will generally reproduce every 2-3 years.

After a gestation period of about 30-35 days, the 2cm long blind and furless joey makes his journey to the mother’s pouch. It relies on its well-developed senses of smell and touch and an inborn sense of direction. Once in the pouch, it attaches itself to one of the two teats. The joey stays in its mother’s pouch for about 6 to 7 months, drinking only milk.

Before it can tolerate gumleaves, which are toxic for most mammals, the joey must feed on a substance called ‘pap' which is a specialized form of the mother’s droppings that is soft and runny. This allows the mother to pass on to the joey special micro-organisms from her intestine which are necessary for it to be able to digest the gumleaves. It feeds on this for a period of up to a few weeks, just prior to it coming out of the pouch.

After emerging from the pouch, the joey will ride on its mother’s abdomen or back, and it will return to the pouch for milk until too big to fit inside. The joey leaves its mother’s home range between 1 and 3 years old, depending on when the mother has her next joey.


Kissing Koalas at Taronga Zoo

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Two Koala joeys have become ‘tree-mates’ at Taronga Zoo, snacking, sniffing and snoozing side-by-side since moving away from their mothers.

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Holly 9Photo Credits: Taronga Zoo

‘Holly’ and ‘Bai’yali’ recently moved into a “koala crèche”, where the pair has been spotted munching on eucalyptus leaves together and even sharing an occasional nose-rub to the delight of zoo visitors.

“Koalas are known to have poor eyesight, so smelling and hearing is much more important. Nose touching is a Koala greeting and a way for Koalas to determine if they’re encountering a friend or foe,” said Koala Keeper, Laura Jones.

The pairing of one-year-old Holly (whose birthday is Christmas Day) and 15-month-old Bai’yali, is designed to replicate Koala behaviors in the wild. From 12 months onwards, Koala joeys leave their mothers to find their own home ranges.

“We crèche them together so they can grow up and learn natural social behaviors without feeling threatened by the adult Koalas. It’s also nice for the joeys to have a companion while they’re making the big transition away from their mothers,” said Laura.

Laura said the female joeys would remain together for at least another year if they continue to get along.

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New Koala Joeys Emerging at Taronga Zoo

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Keepers at Taronga Zoo, in Australia, are celebrating the arrival of two new Koala joeys!

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Ruby's Joey 7Photo Credits: Taronga Zoo

A female joey has finally emerged from the pouch of first-time mother, Ruby. Born on Christmas Day, the joey was one month late in emerging, but she is quickly making up for lost time, exploring the world outside her mother’s pouch and tasting her first eucalyptus leaves.

Koala Keeper, Laura Jones, said, “She got off to a slightly slow start, but she’s healthy now and starting to mouth leaves. Ruby is also becoming more comfortable and relaxed as a mother, and her joey can often be seen snuggling in her belly when they are resting.”

The female joey is yet-to-be-named, but Taronga Zoo will soon be launching a naming competition for the new Koala through its social media pages.

Ruby isn’t the only new Koala mother at the zoo. Another member of the zoo’s Koala breeding group, River, also welcomed her first joey.

The male joey has been named ‘Bardin’ after the Aboriginal word for ‘ironbark’, one of the eucalyptus species favored by koalas. At 10 months old, Bardin is steadily gaining weight and growing in confidence.

Taronga’s Koala breeding program has now produced three joeys this season. River’s older sister, Tilly, also welcomed a female joey named Bai’yali, earlier this year.

The reopening of Taronga’s Koala Encounter exhibit, at the zoo, has allowed visitors to become acquainted with the new joeys and their families. Here, they can learn more about one of Australia’s most iconic species and why its major threats are urban development and forestry in their natural habitat. 

See more photos of the joeys and their mothers below.

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Koala Joey Blooms at Taronga Zoo

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Taronga Western Plains Zoo in New South Wales, Australia, has a lovely new flower to share with visitors.  A female Koala joey, named “Rosea”, has recently emerged from her mother “Wild Child’s” pouch!

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Koala joey_7Photo Credits: Natacha Richards (Photos 1, 5), Rachel Hanlon (2,3,4,6), Jackie Stuart (7,8)

“Rosea (named for a species of flowering eucalypt) is approximately 8 months old and is a little shy at present, preferring to stay close to mum’s chest, but in the coming months will start to move on to her mother’s back,” said keeper, Natacha Richards.

The new Koala joey is the first offspring for her attentive mother, and the pair makes their home in the zoo’s Aussie Walkthrough exhibit.  They are joined by a small group of Koalas that is growing by several members this season. Two more Koala joeys are yet to emerge from their mother’s pouches.

Although Koalas are classified as “Least Concern” on the IUCN Red List, their numbers are declining in the wild due to habitat encroachment.  Every new birth in an accredited zoo is one way to help secure the future of the species.

See more photos below.

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First Koala Joey of the Season at Taronga Zoo

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Taronga Zoo welcomed its first koala joey for this year’s breeding season, with the little female beginning to explore the world outside her mother’s pouch to the delight of visitors.

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Bai_yali 9Photo Credit:  Taronga Zoo

 

The joey has been named Bai’yali (pronouncedbye-yah-lee’) after the D'harawal Aboriginal word for ‘stringybark,’ one of the eucalyptus species favoured by koalas. 

Koala keeper Laura Jones said mother Tilly had taken to her new role remarkably well.

“She’s proving to be a very relaxed and nurturing mum. She’s doing all the right things and her joey is thriving. Bai’yali is fully out of the pouch now and can often be seen holding onto mum and snuggling in her belly when they are resting,” said Laura. 

At seven months old, the joey is beginning to taste eucalyptus leaves and steadily gaining weight and the fluffy fur for which koalas are known. She will spend at least another three months with her mother before venturing out on her own. 

Part of Taronga Zoo’s koala breeding program, Bai’yali is the first of three joeys expected to emerge at the Zoo this breeding season. Tilly’s younger sister and tree-mate, River, is also carrying a male joey. 

“He still just fits inside mum’s pouch, but it won’t be long before he’s out and about too,” said Laura. 

Koalas are under threat from urban development and forestry breaking up their natural habitat.

See more photos of the joey below.

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Koala's Big Adventure at Edinburgh Zoo

1st Birthday in May 2014The only Koala ever born in the United Kingdom ventured outdoors for the very first time this week.

Yooranah is a male Koala joey born at the Edinburgh Zoo to mother Alinga and father Goonaroo in May 2013. In late 2013 he first emerged from the pouch. On his first outdoor adventure, Yooranah scaled the outdoor climbing frame for the first time on his own.  Before this, he needed help from his keepers!  He is one of four Koalas at the zoo.

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14_6_17_Koala_Yooranah_Outdoors_JP_1Photo Credit:  Edinburgh Zoo

When the weather is warm, keepers take the Koalas out of their special heated enclosures to spend time in an outdoor amphitheater at the zoo, complete with climbing frames and eucalyptus leaves. This outdoor time is important – the Koalas get their vitamin D from sunlight, and they can also enjoy the sights and sounds of the zoo.

See more photos of Yooranah below.

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Three's Not a Crowd for Koala Joeys

Three Joeys (1)_Credit Ellen Wilson, Taronga ZooThree’s a crowd – unless you’re a Koala joey at Australia's  Taronga Zoo!

Keepers spotted joeys Sydney, Milli and Tucker snoozing and spooning happily together. The trio have been tree-mates in the Zoo’s Koala Encounter area for the past month, since moving away from their mothers.Three Joeys 1_Credit Ellen Wilson, Taronga Zoo

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Koala Joeys 9_Paul FahyPhoto Credits:  Ellen Wilson (1,2); Paul Fahy (3,4,5,6,7,8) 

The two females, Sydney and Milli, are nearly 18 months old, while male Tucker is the youngest at 12 months old.

Koala keeper, Laura Jones said the trio are enjoying their time together and can often be spotted eating or sleeping close together – and occasionally on top of each other.

“Tucker is usually the poor guy on the bottom. I think he goes to sleep first and then the girls find a comfy spot on top of him,” said Laura. “He’s seems to quite like it at the moment though, as it may remind him of cuddling with his mum.”

Part of Taronga Zoo’s Koala breeding program, Sydney, Milli and Tucker all emerged from the pouch during last year’s breeding season. The Zoo has three more joeys getting ready to emerge this season.

See more Koala photos below the fold.

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Koala Joey's First Day Out at Taronga Zoo

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This little Koala joey emerged from her mother Maggie's pouch for the first time at Taronga Zoo in Sydney on October 11. Spotted clinging to her mum, this female joey is about six months old and is the fifth joey for Maggie, who is good mother and quite protective of her young.

The Koala joey is yet to be named and keepers are currently thinking of an appropriate Australian name for the newest addition to the group. Over the coming months the joey will continue to stay with her mother until approximately 12 months old when she will become independent.

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6 koalaPhoto credits: Taronga Zoo 


Baby Koala Noses Its Way Out of the Pouch at Planckendael

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The Koala family in Planckendael has had a baby! After seven months, Dad, Goonawarra, and Mom, Guwara, welcomed their little bundle, who recently announced itself from Mom’s pouch with a fairly loud squeak! Koalas are timid, sensitive to stress and fussy eaters. It can be difficult to see them in zoos, but this little one made it easy to snap some photographs. The baby seems to be most active in the afternoon.

Like other marsupials, the baby is born after approximately 34 days, though underdeveloped. Emerging hairless and blind and about the size of a bean, it makes its way into the mother’s pouch, where it attaches itself to the nipple. There, in safety and security, it continues to develop and grow over a period of about six months. Then they are ready to peek into the world, as this little one has done.

Once the gender of the baby is known, he or she will receive an Aboriginal name with a beautiful meaning, starting with the letter N -- thus following a tradition that all born at the zoo in 2012 will have names beginning with an N. 

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Photo Credit: Planckendael / Jonas Verhulst