Hope came in the form of a newborn koala since the deadly bushfires that ravaged Australia’s wildlife transpired. From the second half of 2019 and into 2020, massive acres of land burned. Many people lost their homes, and others lost their lives to the blazes.
The wildlife population took the heaviest blow, as conservationists estimate that a billion animals have perished in the inferno. A report from the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) said that 6,382 koalas were killed in New South Wales – about 12% of the state’s koala population. As emphasized in the study, this is a conservative estimate.
Worse, the same study found that 66% of the koala population has been declining over the past three generations. These losses are brought about by drought, bushfires, and manmade causes. This phenomenon had conservationists calling for koalas to be classified as endangered.
It wasn’t until in mid-February that the fires were deemed “contained” by the New South Wales Rural Fire Service. Conservationists, animal rescue groups, and even ordinary folk have been working hard to nurse displaced and injured animals back to health.
Finally, some good news surfaced after the Australian Reptile Park in Somersby, Australia, revealed a video of the first baby koala born in their facility since the catastrophe. The adorable female joey was aptly named Ash, and the internet is loving her!
“We have a very special announcement … Our very first koala of the season has popped out of Mums pouch to say hello!” read the Instagram post’s caption. “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.”
The beautiful clip gained many positive comments.
“Such a little miracle. An absolutely beautiful Mama and Baby,” one user said.
“Bless her. Let’s hope the joey grows up to be a beautiful healthy wala. They’re both gorgeous,” another commented.
It’s the good news that everyone has been waiting for since the beginning of the year.
“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,” Dan Rumsey, one of the park’s zookeepers, said in a press statement.
Caretakers have seen Ash “papping,” which signifies that the joey is developing well. Papping is a process that involves the baby koala feeding on its mother’s specialized form of feces. The pap strengthens the baby’s essential gut bacteria, which is required in digesting eucalyptus leaf.
Rumsey said that Ash is about five months old. Since she was born, she has been hiding in her mom Rosie’s pouch and has revealed herself just recently. Rosie has shown “exemplary parenting skills” since her baby arrived, so they’re confident that the joey is in “good paws.”
Ash’s appearance couldn’t have come at a better time. After two months of closure due to COVID-19, the park opened its doors to the public last June 1.
“Our dedicated staff has been working throughout the lockdown to care for our animals, and now, we’re unbelievably excited to reopen our doors and welcome you back!” the park said in a statement regarding their reopening.
Ash is definitely a ray of sunshine, not just to the park, but also to the rest of the world. Lately, it seems like terrible things are happening everywhere. The birth of this female joey signifies hope and makes us believe that once this is all over, we have a bright future to look forward to!
Here is the video announcement the Australian animal keepers posted on their Facebook page: