It’s nearly springtime Down Under at Australia’s Taronga Western Plains Zoo, and the first Koala joey of the season has emerged from its mother’s pouch.
The male joey is just over five months old and starting peek out at the world. The yet-to-be-named youngster is the third offspring for his mother, Wild Girl. She is experienced at raising babies and is showing all the right maternal behaviors.
Photo Credit: Taronga Western Plains Zoo
Wild Girl arrived at the zoo’s Wildlife Hospital after being hit by a car, and her injuries prevented her from being released back into the wild. She joined the zoo’s Koala group in early 2013 and has since played an important role in the breeding program.
For now, zoo visitors will have to look carefully to spot the joey when he is out of the pouch. The little joey clings to Wild Girl’s belly and can be hard to see. As the Australian spring arrives in full, the weather will warm up and the joey should become more active and independent.
Koala joeys stay with their mothers until they are about 12 months of age. At that time, they gradually roam farther from their mothers before becoming fully independent.