An Australian zoo has shared a photo of a brave baby koala who was treated for a fractured arm after being rescued when her mother fell from a tree in a eucalyptus plantation.
The tiny joey, was just five-months-old and weighed 500grams, when she was rushed to Werribee Zoo in Victoria where she was treated by veterinarians.
‘She was just at the stage where she would have been starting to poke her head out of mum’s pouch. Joeys that size don’t have a good survival rate in care,’ vet nurse Jess Rice said.
A tiny koala joey has recovered after being fitted with a mini-cast to repair a broken arm it suffered after falling from a tree on a logging plantation in 2019
But expert staff at the zoo refused to give up – providing round the clock care and fitting the marsupial with an adorable arm cast after x-rays revealed she had fractured her limb in the fall.
Soon the koala began to gain weight and recovered enough strength to explore her surroundings and climb on the back of a koala stuffed toy as she would naturally do with her mother.
Unfortunately, the difficult decision was made by an external veterinarian to euthanise the adult koala as she suffered severe injuries in the fall from the tree.
Staff at the zoo, however, were ecstatic they were able to save the baby who recovered enough to be sent to live with a wildlife carer before being returned to the wild in 2020.
The koala joey named Millie was released to a carer for the final months of her recovery until being released back into the wild in 2020
‘It was really touch and go when she was brought to us,’ Ms Rice said.
Commenters on a video uploaded to the Zoos Victoria YouTube page were also quite enamored with the joey.
‘Awwww, bless her,’ one person said.
‘Poor baby she is so cute, give her a kiss from me,’ another person said.
‘How adorable, thank you for saving her and other animals,’ added a third.
Koala’s are listed as a vulnerable species by the IUCN – with bushfires, deforestation, and disease having affected their numbers.
On Monday, the New South Wales government reached a deal to protect koala habitats under their new Koala State Environmental Planning Policy (SEPP) 2021.
The deal exempts some rural NSW land zoned for farming or forestry, labelled ‘core rural zones’ from the protected areas – to quell infighting within the government against the scheme led by the NSW deputy premier.
Environment Minister Matt Kean said the new SEPP would facilitate the government’s push to double the NSW koala population by 2050.
However, the NSW Greens have argued the watered-down laws will threaten koala habitats.
Another koala joey named Mini was rescued by Weribee Zoo in 2020 after being found in the wild after the koala’s mother was attacked by a dog
In November 2020, Victorian premier Daniel Andrews visited the site and announced Weribee Zoo would be receiving an $84million upgrade.
Among the new features will be a state-of-the-art 22 hectare Asian Elephant enclosure and a Sky Safari gondola ride gliding above the savannah landscape.
The zoo has also unveiled how they will spend $8.8million donated by the public after Australia’s 2020 bushfire season.
Zoos Victoria Bushfire Response and Recovery Plan includes $2.67million for future-proofing Animal Wildlife Health and Welfare.
This involves the employment of an emergency management specialist, upskilling staff to administer care to bushfire affected wildlife, as support facilities.
There is also $4.8million for threatened species recovery. This is for projects specifically related to threatened species within bushfire areas, in addition to the 27 threatened species already on Zoos Victoria’s ‘Fighting Extinction’ list.
Also $330,000 will be used for nature-based community recovery, which will assist in rebuilding local communities devastated by the bushfires, along with associated partners as part of a larger recovery effort.
Melbourne and Weribee Zoos have reopened to visitors after coronavirus lockdowns but guests will need to book tickets in advance via their website.
Five-month-old baby koala Millie on the back of her surrogate mother as she recovered from her injuries in 2019