Taronga Zoo has welcomed their first koala joey for the season. Little ‘Bai’yali’ has emerged ready to say ‘Budyari yaguna’ to people with NAIDOC week set to begin next week.
‘Bai’yali’ was named for the stringybark tree a favourite food of the koalas. She was named in the ‘D’harawal’ aboriginal language in honour of NAIDOC week which begins on the 6th of July.
Mum Tilly has taken to her new role well said keeper, Laura Jones ‘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 also thriving added Jones, ‘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.’
Her fur is slowly getting fluffier and she has developed a taster for gum leaves meaning she is close to becoming a fully-fledged koala. She still has another 3 months to spend with mum though before she goes out into the world on her own.
Koalas are under threat from urban development and forestry which means there is fewer habitats for them. As such ‘Bai’yali’ will spend his life meeting visitors at the zoo’s koala encounters area. Here they can get up close with the koalas while being educated on their plight.
Soon she will be joined by a cousin as Tilly’s sister; River is carrying a male joey. These two are part of the trio of koala joeys expected to emerge at the zoo this year.
River’s baby is expected to be out exploring soon, ‘He still just fits inside mum’s pouch, but it won’t be long before he’s out and about too’ explained Jones.
‘Bai’yali and rivers joey will be sharing a tree so hopefully the pair will make friends with each other.
You can meet the joeys daily at Taronga Zoo.
Photo Credit: Taronga Zoo