Keepers at Taronga Zoo, in Australia, are celebrating the arrival of two new Koala joeys!
A female joey has finally emerged from the pouch of first-time mother, Ruby. Born on Christmas Day, the joey was one month late in emerging, but she is quickly making up for lost time, exploring the world outside her mother’s pouch and tasting her first eucalyptus leaves.
Koala Keeper, Laura Jones, said, “She got off to a slightly slow start, but she’s healthy now and starting to mouth leaves. Ruby is also becoming more comfortable and relaxed as a mother, and her joey can often be seen snuggling in her belly when they are resting.”
The female joey is yet-to-be-named, but Taronga Zoo will soon be launching a naming competition for the new Koala through its social media pages.
Ruby isn’t the only new Koala mother at the zoo. Another member of the zoo’s Koala breeding group, River, also welcomed her first joey.
The male joey has been named ‘Bardin’ after the Aboriginal word for ‘ironbark’, one of the eucalyptus species favored by koalas. At 10 months old, Bardin is steadily gaining weight and growing in confidence.
Taronga’s Koala breeding program has now produced three joeys this season. River’s older sister, Tilly, also welcomed a female joey named Bai’yali, earlier this year.
The reopening of Taronga’s Koala Encounter exhibit, at the zoo, has allowed visitors to become acquainted with the new joeys and their families. Here, they can learn more about one of Australia’s most iconic species and why its major threats are urban development and forestry in their natural habitat.
See more photos of the joeys and their mothers below.