VIDEO + PICS: Meet Ash, the first koala born after deadly Australia bushfires
A female joey named Ash has been hailed as a sign of hope after fires ravaged Australia’s native wildlife.
The Australian Reptile Park, where the first koala joey was born since a catastrophic bushfire season devastated the country at the end of 2019 and into early 2020, believes it’s the good news everyone has been waiting for since January.
Since the fires decimated wild koala populations around the country, it is still unknown how severe the decline in population has been, but Australian Reptile Park’s wildlife conservation organisation Aussie Ark believes the next generation of koalas is promising.
Australian Reptile Park Zookeeper, Dan Rumsey said in a press statement: “It was such an incredible moment when we saw Ash poke her head out of her mum’s pouch for the first time. Ash represents the start of what we’re hoping to be another successful breeding season. Last year, we had seven healthy koala joeys, and we’re very keen to help bolster their numbers after wild populations were ravaged during the horrific bushfire season.”
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Our very first koala of the season has popped out of Mums pouch to say hello! 🐨 Keepers have decided to name her Ash! Ash is the first koala born at the park since the tragic Australian bushfires and is a sign of hope for the future of Australia’s native wildlife. . . . . . . . . . . #thisiscentralcoast #australia #sydneyactivities #fun #thingstodoinsydney #sydney #centralcoast #viral #cute #cuteanimals #newsouthwales #selfisolation #stayhome #animalfriends #australiananimal #koala #elsathekoala #cutekoalas #seeaustralia @australia #koala #koalajoey
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Ash has also been seen "papping", which is a great sign that she is developing well and is growing into a healthy little koala. Papping is a process that involves the joey feeding on its mother’s specialised form of faeces. This strengthens the joey’s essential gut bacteria which is needed to break down eucalyptus leaf.
Rumsey said Ash is estimated to be five months old and is right on track to be emerging from the pouch for the first time. “Her mother Rosie has shown exemplary parenting skills and we know that Ash is in good paws,” he said.
Aussie Ark has discovered evidence of koalas moving in the Barrington Tops area since the fires. Using remote cameras, Aussie Ark has identified a population of 30 koalas thriving in the organisation’s wild sanctuaries in the Barrington Tops.
Although theses sanctuaries are susceptible to bushfires, Aussie Ark’s planned, proactive bushfire management, which includes cool, mosaic reduction burns with lower intensity, help prevent catastrophic fires from occurring.
After two months of temporary closure due to coronavirus, the Australian Reptile Park will reopen on June 1. Guests will have the chance to try and spot Ash and her mum Rosie, along with the other koalas that call the Australian Reptile Park home.