Koala Joey Peeks Out of the Pouch at Columbus Zoo

Posted By : The Animal Facts Editorial Team

Date: January 6, 2021 1:35 pm

koala columbus zoo and aquarium

A koala joey emerges from the pouch at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

Photo Credit: Grahm S. Jones/ Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

Guests visiting the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium may get a special peek at Katy the koala’s joey as it begins to poke its body out of the pouch for short periods of time. The joey was born on July 5th 2020 and has been developing in the pouch ever since.

As a marsupial koalas give birth to babies known as joeys which are only the size of a jellybean when they are born. They then make their own birth canal to their mothers pouch. This protects the joey which has now grown to around the size of a softball.

For now you might get a quick glimpse of a hand or foot poking out the pouch but by mid-March the joey will fully emerge from the pouch.

koala columbus zoo and aquarium
koala columbus zoo and aquarium

A koala joey emerges from the pouch at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

Photo Credit: Grahm S. Jones/ Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

Katy is a first time mother and was paired with father, Thoar on a recommendation from the Species Survival Plan® (SSP), a program coordinated by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) to maintain genetic diversity of threatened and endangered species in human care. 

Both Katy and Thoar came to the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium during September 2017 from their birth place, the San Diego Zoo in California. This is the first time the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium have welcomed a koala joey since 2006 and only the third since they began housing koalas in 1991.

“With only 53 koalas residing in nine AZA-accredited facilities in North America, the birth of this koala joey is an extremely significant achievement. We are thrilled to celebrate the new year with this great news, and we are proud of our continued commitment in working to protect the future of koalas and other species across the globe,” said Columbus Zoo and Aquarium President/CEO Tom Stalf.

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Koalas are one of the most iconic animals from Australia but are now listed as ‘vulnerable’ on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List of Threatened Species™. They are increasingly threatened by habitat destruction, drought, disease and bushfires. Over 80% of their habitat has been destroyed.

They live solely on a diet of eucalyptus leaves and due to the work needed to break down the toxins in these plants they will sleep for 15-20 hours a day.

The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium have contributed funds to help support the survival of koalas in Australia. During the 2020 bushfires they contributed funds to Zoos Victoria and Australia Zoo who were working to rescue and rehabilitate koalas.

koala columbus zoo and aquarium
koala columbus zoo and aquarium

A koala joey emerges from the pouch at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

Photo Credit: SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium

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


Learn more about the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium on their website – Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

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