Aussie Park Thrilled As First Koala Is Born Since Devastating Bushfires
The Australian Reptile Park is celebrating after the first koala joey has been welcomed since the devastating bushfires earlier this year.
Handlers at the Park have decided to name the newborn Ash, in honour of the Black Summer fire season.
Koalas were some of the animals who fared the worst during the heartbreaking fires, with estimates putting the death toll in the thousands.
Around 85 per cent of the koala population in northern New South Wales was wiped out and researchers are still conducting studies around other areas to see what the damage was between November and February. That's why this little bundle of joy is such a cause for celebration.
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 mum's pouch for the first time!"
Female koalas usually only have one joey a year, however many can sometimes go two or three years without having one. The incredible rate of destruction and stress induced from the bushfires would understandably stop many koalas from reproducing.
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The road to boosting the koala population across Australia will be a long one.
Environment minister Sussan Ley has revealed that koalas could be listed as endangered as a result of the bushfire crisis. The federal MP announced a $50 million funding package earlier this year to help animal populations bounce back once the bushfires have died down.
Ms Ley told reporters while unveiling the additional funding: "It may be necessary... to see whether in certain parts of the country, koalas move from where they are, which is often vulnerable, up to endangered."
Half of the funds will go towards wildlife carers, hospitals and zoos, who will be the best people to lead the repopulation and rehousing efforts.
Experts were shocked by the loss of life during the 2019/2020 bushfire season.
A NSW upper house inquiry was set up to investigate just how many koalas were wiped out over the bushfire months and committee chair Cate Faehrmann couldn't believe her eyes when the figures came back.
"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," she told AAP.
"There are so many threats that if we are going to stop this wonderful animal from becoming extinct we have to really really prioritise securing and protecting their habitat now."
While Ash is only one koala, it will hopefully be one of many to be born to help their species rebuild.
Featured Image Credit: Australian Reptile Park