Keepers are celebrating the arrival of spring with the birth of two koalas into their breeding program.
A joey has begun to emerge from the pouch. It is an exciting event for her mother Ruby as this is her first ever baby. Visitors have been incredibly delighted to see the young joey out playing.
The koala was a Christmas present to keepers last year and has spent the last 9 months cuddled up in its mothers pouch. The joey was meant to have emerged last month but has more than made up for being late exploring and taking her first bites of gum leaves.
Now the baby is waiting for a name to be presented to her. Keepers are planning to let the public name her through a competition on Instagram and Facebook.
Laura Jones, a koala keeper at Taronga 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.”
Three koalas have been produced this year as part of the breeding program at Taronga Zoo.
River another of the koalas has welcomed her first off spring. Keepers chose to name him ‘Bardin’ which means ‘ironbark’ in aboriginal. Ironbark is one of the eucalyptus species which the koalas will eat. Bardin is currently 10 months old and is steadily gaining weight and confidence.
Tilly the older sister of River also gave birth to a joey who has been named Bai’yali.
The joeys will one day form part of the breeding program helping to secure a future for one of Australia’s favourite animals. Their future is bleak due to urban development and forestry affecting their ability to move through their habitat.
Visitors can meet the koalas at Taronga’s koala encounters enclosure.
Photo Credit: Paul Fahy/ Taronga Zoo