A brave baby koala was treated for a fractured arm after being rescued when her mother fell from a tree in a eucalyptus forest, according to an Australian zoo.
The baby koala was just five months old and weighed 500 grams when she was transported to Werribee Zoo in Victoria, where veterinarians treated her.
‘She was almost at the point where she would have started poking her head out of mum’s pouch.’ Joeys of that size do not fare well in care, according to vet nurse Jess Rice.
But the zoo’s professional staff refused to close up, providing 24-hour care and equipping the marsupial with a beautiful arm cast when x-rays confirmed she had fractured her limb in the fall.
Soon after, the koala gained weight and recovered enough strength to explore her surroundings and climb on the back of a stuffed koala, much like her mother.
Unfortunately, an external veterinarian took the difficult decision to euthanize the adult koala after she received significant injuries in the fall from the tree.
On the other hand, staff at the zoo were overjoyed that they were able to save the infant, who was taken to live with a wildlife caretaker before being released back into the wild in 2020.
‘When she was brought to us, it was very touch and go,’ Ms Rice said.
Commenters on a video posted to Zoos Victoria’s YouTube page were likewise taken with the joey.
‘Awwww, bless her,’ said one.
‘Poor baby koala, she’s so cute, give her a kiss from me,’ said another.
‘How cute, thank you for protecting her and other animals,’ a third person commented.
The IUCN lists koalas as an endangered species, citing bushfires, deforestation, and disease as threats to their survival.
The New South Wales government achieved an agreement on Monday to safeguard koala habitats as part of their new Koala State Environmental Planning Policy (SEPP) 2021.
The agreement exempts some rural NSW land earmarked for farming or forestry from the protected regions, dubbed “core rural zones,” in order to ease internal government opposition to the proposal led by the NSW deputy premier.
The new SEPP, according to Environment Minister Matt Kean, will help the government’s aim to double the NSW koala population by 2050.
The NSW Greens, on the other hand, have claimed that the watered-down restrictions will endanger koala habitats.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews visited the facility in November 2020 and announced a $84 million improvement to Weribee Zoo.
A state-of-the-art 22-hectare Asian Elephant enclosure and a Sky Safari gondola ride soaring above the savannah terrain will be among the new amenities.
The zoo has also revealed how it will spend $8.8 million in public donations after Australia’s 2020 bushfire season.
Zoos Victoria’s Bushfire Response and Recovery Plan contains $2.67 million for animal wildlife health and welfare in the future.
This includes hiring an emergency management specialist and upskilling workers to care for bushfire-damaged wildlife as support facilities.
There is also $4.8 million set aside for the recovery of threatened species. In addition to the 27 threatened species already on Zoos Victoria’s ‘Fighting Extinction’ list, this is for programs specifically devoted to threatened species within bushfire regions.
In addition, $330,000 will be utilized for nature-based community recovery, which will help rebuild local communities affected by the bushfires in collaboration with connected partners as part of a bigger recovery effort.
The Melbourne and Weribee Zoos have returned to tourists following coronavirus lockdowns, but guests must purchase tickets in advance through their websites.
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