RZSS Edinburgh Zoo is home to the UK’s only group of koalas which include two males and a female, who recently gave birth.
The new arrival, a little male joey, is only just becoming visible after being born on 31 January to mum Alinga. Now 5 months old, the wriggly joey is almost too big for Alinga’s pouch and a hand or nose can often be seen poking out.
Lorna Hughes, Team Leader for koalas at Edinburgh Zoo, said: ” Koala joeys are the size of a jelly bean when born and spend the first 6-7 months of their lives within their mother’s pouch where they grow and develop in preparation for life outside. It has been absolutely fantastic to see the joey growing bigger and now start to peek out of Alinga’s pouch.
“Once the joey is too big to fit back inside her pouch, Alinga will carry the joey on her back for the next few months until he or she is ready to become independent.
“It’s still early days and as this is a critical stage for our joey. We are asking visitors to Koala Territory to stay extra quiet as koalas are very sensitive to noise”
Koalas are native to eastern Australia and are currently classified as a vulnerable species with the main threats facing koala populations being habitat loss, wildfires and climate change.
RZSS Edinburgh Zoo make regular contributions to conservation projects in Australia, helping to rehabilitate and release sick and injured koalas back into their natural habitat.
For more information and to visit Edinburgh Zoo go to www.edinburghzoo.org.uk