First Baby Koala Born In Australian Wildlife Park Since Devastating Bushfires

The world was shocked by the bushfires that kept devastating the territory of Australia for months. The fire crisis has killed at least 26 people, destroyed over 2,000 homes and scorched millions of acres of land.

Plus, thousands of koalas died in the terrifying fires, and researchers are still struggling to determine the effects of the bushfires on their population between November and February.

However, the Australian Reptile Park finally shared good news- they welcomed the first koala joey born at the park since the fires, and they named her Ash.

The park posted a video on Facebook, with a caption:

“We have a very special announcement… Our very first koala of the season has popped out of Mums’ pouch to say hello!” 

Australian Reptile Park Zookeeper, Dan Rumsey said: 

“Ash represents the start of what we’re hoping to be another successful breeding season.

It was such an incredible moment when we saw Ash poke her head out of her mom’s pouch for the first time!”

The zoo explained that Ash shows signs of a healthy koala joey. She was born in January, but she remained in her mother’s pouch to grow and strengthen.

Rumsey added:

“Ash is estimated to be 5 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.”

Last year, seven baby koalas were born in the park, but as the koala population has dramatically decreased in the fires, the staff at the park hope that this number will rise this year.

Female koalas usually give birth to only one joey a year, but many feared that the stress during the fires could hurt their reproduction.

The Minister for the Environment, Sussan Ley, explained that these adorable marsupials could be listed as endangered due to the bushfire crisis, and the MP announced a $50 million funding package to help the wildlife populations.

Ms. Ley said that it might be necessary to check if “ “in certain parts of the country, koalas move from where they are, which is often vulnerable, up to endangered.”

The report from the global conservation group International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) estimated that over 5,000 koalas have died in the fires.

Cate Faehrmann, committee chair of the NSW upper house inquiry, said:

“That’s extremely shocking and really should be a wake-up call to the government to pause any threats to koala habitat including logging and development in key areas.

There are so many threats that if we are going to stop this wonderful animal from becoming extinct we have to really, really, prioritize securing and protecting their habitat now.”

The Australian Reptile Park near Sydney, New South Wales, reopened May 1. Since their announcement, Ash has become a celebrity, and she even started popping out more frequently to greet her fans.

Let’s hope that we will hear more stories like the one of Ash and her mom Rosie soon!