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Australian Reptile Park Celebrate Successful Koala Breeding Season

Posted By : The Animal Facts Editorial Team

Date: August 3, 2020 1:00 pm

koala Australian reptile park

Ember the koala joey being hand-raised

Photo Credit: Australian Reptile Park

The Australian Reptile Park is celebrating a huge achievement for the threatened koala population with nine joeys emerging from the pouch at the wildlife park in Australia.

Estimates suggest that koalas may go extinct in New South Wales (the state which is home to the Australian Reptile Park) as early as 2050 so each koala is precious.

These arrivals are even more special as they are the first koalas born at the sanctuary since it was threatened by a bush fire in late 2019 and early 2020.

Some of the koala joeys born this year.

Photo Credit: Australian Reptile Park

Australian Reptile Park Director, Tim Faulkner, said, “It’s becoming clear all over the world that koalas in Australia are under serious threat. A year-long New South Wales parliamentary inquiry has found koalas are on track to become extinct in the wild in NSW well before 2050 without urgent intervention to stop the destruction of their habitat”

“The inquiry found previous estimates of 36,000 remaining marsupials in the state were most likely outdated, because they did not account for the effects of the 2019-20 bushfires,” finished Tim.

A koala joey with its mother at the park.

Photo Credit: Australian Reptile Park

While all the new arrivals are special one has been extra important to keepers at the park due to his tough start to life. Keepers stepped in to hand-raise one of the koala joeys known as Ember as his mother suffered from a pouch infection while she was caring for him. It is believed that this infection came from a scratch by a stick or branch.

Unfortunately having a joey in the pouch was proving painful for his mom Polly and it was decided to hand-raise Ember to give her time to recover. Resident koala whisperer at the Australian Reptile Park, Hayley Shute stepped in to raise him.

Polly was given an emergency surgery by the team at Somersby Animal Hospital and is expected to make a full recovery.

Keepers chose the name ‘Ember’ for this joey as represents a ‘spark of hope’ after the fires ravaged Australia earlier this year.

Unfortunately Embers run of bad luck didn’t end with his rescue. Hayley noticed that he had begun to suck on his testes and the friction rubbed off the fur around his mouth. Following treatment this behavior has stopped and it is expected he will make a full recovery.

Hayley Shute said of Ember’s ailment, “This is quite odd behaviour for a koala joey and I’ve never seen it before. We’re still a bit unsure about why he did it, but we believe it was him looking for a teat to suck on between bottle feeds. Thankfully, he doesn’t do this anymore and is growing up to be one happy and healthy boy!”

Ember the koala joey being hand-raised

Photo Credit: Australian Reptile Park

At the Australian Reptile Park visitors can see over 40 koalas which are part of the park’s breeding program. This is expanding each year with more breeding and the park is committed to not stopping until they prevent the extinction of these iconic animals.

Learn more about koalas here – Koala | The Animal Facts

Learn more about the Australian Reptile Park on their website – Australian Reptile Park

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