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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
Koalas are not functionally extinct, although their population has rapidly declined in recent decades; these numbers have gotten worse as wildfires have ravaged the continent of Australia. The International Fund for Animal Welfare and Biolink research group place the koala casualties around 5,000, or 12 percent of their population, since the wildfires began; less conservative estimates place the casualty rate around 30 percent.
But there is a glimmer of hope: for the first time since the wildfires, a baby koala has been seen emerging from a pouch. Baby Ash was born at the Australian Reptile Park, and is believed to be about 5 months old. "Ash represents the start of what we're hoping to be another successful breeding season," Zookeeper Dan Rumsey told Buzzfeed News. "It was such an incredible moment when we saw Ash poke her head out of her mum's pouch for the first time!"
I recognize that issues around zoos and conservation can get complicated. But koalas are adorable, and the news of their population growing even gradually should be a positive omen we can all agree on.
Image: Public Domain via Pexels