Thousands of koalas have lost their lives in last summer’s devastating Australian bushfires. Experts estimate that up to 85% of the northern New South Whales’ koala population, has been completely wiped out. It came as no surprise that the caretakers at The Australian Reptile Park were thrilled beyond words when they welcomed their first koala to be born since the devastating bushfires.
Caretakers at the reptile park decided to symbolically name the koala joey ‘Ash’, after last summer’s destructive fires. Dan Rumsey, a zookeeper at the park was interviewed by The Australian Associated Press (APP). In the interview Rumsey said: “Ash represents the start of what we’re hoping to be another successful breeding season.” Rumsey then continued to describe the moment they found out the good news: “It was such an incredible moment when we saw Ash poke her head out of her mum’s pouch for the first time!”
But despite the good news, the experts’ forecasts aren’t as optimistic. Scientists recently raised their concerns about the species’ reproduction rate. Female koalas usually give birth to between 1-3 joeys a year, but scientists claim that these numbers are going to be hard to reach. More and more koalas are showing less interest in reproducing, presumably as a result of the stress caused by the fires. Unfortunately, it seems that it’s going to take the koalas a long time to fully recover from the horrific fires.
Australia’s environment minister, Sussan Ley, recently stated that koalas might be listed as endangered. This will be determined after examining the results of several studies, about the impact of the bushfires on the species. Australia’s federal MP recently announced that they will pass a $50 million funding package. The package is aimed to help jumpstart the growth of the country’s koala population. Half of that amount is planned to go towards supporting animal hospitals, zoos, and the rehousing of these unique creatures.
While it sounds like the Australian government is doing all that it can to help its koalas, some claim that it’s simply not enough. Cate Faehrmann, chairman of the NSW upper house recently gave an interview to APP. in the interview Faehrmann said: 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,” Faehrmann then continued. “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.“
We hope that the birth of Ash marks the beginning of this incredible species’ recovery from last summer’s events.
Don’t miss the video of Ash, the first koala born since last years’ bushfires here:
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