Edinburgh Zoo’s baby koala makes first appearance

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THE joey born at Edinburgh Zoo is starting to emerge and delight lucky visitors.

Born on 31 January to mum Alinga and father Goonaroo, the new arrival to the UK’s only group of koala’s was still curled up inside mum’s pouch until very recently. However, the joey is growing fast and was photographed as it ventured out of the pouch for the first time this week.

Lorna Hughes, Team Leader for koalas at RZSS Edinburgh Zoo, said “We are really happy that the joey has started to fully emerge. At seven months old the joey is almost too big to fit inside mother’s pouch, which means it will now be venturing outside more regularly. Soon it will begin riding on Alinga’s back until it becomes independent at around 12 months. Soon we will be able to begin weighing the new addition and determine its sex so we can name it.”

Alinga will carry the joey around on her back until it is around 12 months old and, once it reaches sexual maturity, it will go on become part of the European breeding programme. RZSS Edinburgh Zoo is the only zoo in the UK to have koalas and this new arrival is testament to the Zoo’s animal husbandry expertise.

As members of the European Breeding Programme for Queensland Koalas, RZSS Edinburgh Zoo makes regular contributions that support conservation projects in Australia that help to rehabilitate and release sick and injured koalas back into their natural habitat.

Koalas (Phascolarctos cinereus) are native to eastern Australia and are currently classified as vulnerable by the IUCN Red List. The main threats facing koala populations are habitat loss, wildfires and climate change.