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First Ever Southern Koala Born in Europe at Longleat

Posted By : The Animal Facts Editorial Team

Date: February 2, 2022 1:22 pm

Koala Joey Longleat Safari Park

A southern koala joey has emerged from the pouch at Longleat Safari Park

Photo Credit: Longleat Safari Park

The first ever southern koala joey to be born in Europe has emerged from the pouch at Longleat Safari Park.

Longleat have been holding on to the secret for a while with the joey having been born six months ago. As a marsupial it spent the first six months of life in a pouch on mother Violet's belly.

This birth is an exciting milestone for Longleat Safari Park since they opened their purpose built facility in 2019. Lord Bath worked to bring the koalas to Longleat and is also a patron of the Koala Life charitable organization based in South Australia.

“The arrival of the first baby southern koala is a huge event for the entire team here and something we have all been working towards and hoping for since we launched the new facility three years ago,” he said.

“We are still not fully sure on the sex of the joey but hope to get a better idea when it starts to spend more time outside of the pouch. Currently we want to leave them alone as much as possible,” he added.

As the joey continues to grow it will begin to spend more time out of its pouch and visitors will be able to meet it.

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Longleat have been working with the Government of South Australia and Cleland Wildlife Park to establish the Koala Creek habitat at the Safari Park as the European hub for this species.

The habitat includes a natural stream, eucalyptus trees, climbing poles, a mix of indoor and outdoor habitats, viewing areas, and a medical care unit.

“It has been a long and complicated process, but this birth is really important for a number of reasons,” said keeper James Dennis.

“As well as helping to raise awareness of the southern koala and the threats it faces in the wild, it is also teaching us so much about the species’ complex lifecycle."

“One of the most concerning issues with regard to southern koalas in Australia is the high levels of inbreeding and so the fact we are able to begin establishing a genetically diverse population here in Europe is also really important,” he added.

“The breeding of the first southern koala born in Europe represents the culmination of this fantastic partnership to better understand and protect koalas,” said Professor Chris Daniels, from the University of South Australia and Chair of Koala Life.

“In addition, Longleat now has a small but vital group of healthy animals free of debilitating diseases including chlamydia and retrovirus. This will help us understand how to keep sanctuary populations heathy and provide important information about the effects of these diseases.

“So, this joey represents a small, but vital step in the process to secure the long-term survival of one of the world's most loved animals. A major achievement,” he added.

Learn more about Koalas here – Koala Fact File | The Animal Facts

Learn more about Longleat Safari Park on their website – Longleat Safari Park

Koala Joey Longleat Safari Park

A southern koala joey has emerged from the pouch at Longleat Safari Park

Photo Credit: Longleat Safari Park

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