in

Australia Welcomes “Ash,” First Koala Bundle Of Joey Born Since The Devastating Bushfires

An Australian wildlife park had good news to share this week after they celebrated the birth of the first koala joey to be born since the end of the region’s devastating bushfire season.

The Australian Reptile Park near Sydney, in New South Wales, announced the birth of baby Ash on Facebook Tuesday.

“We have a very special announcement… Our very first koala of the season has popped out of Mums pouch to say hello!” Park staff posted.

FIRST KOALA JOEY OF THE SEASON!

We have a very special announcement... Our very first koala of the season has popped out of Mums pouch to say hello! 🐨Keepers have decided to name her Ash! Ash is the first koala born at the park since the tragic Australian bushfires and is a sign of hope for the future of Australia’s native wildlife.

Posted by Australian Reptile Park on Monday, May 25, 2020

Baby Ash, named for the bushfires, is a symbol of hope and rebirth after the destruction caused by Australia’s worst fire season on record.

Per the Department of Home Affairs, 33 people were killed in the 2020 bushfires in Australia, and more than 12.6 million hectares of land was scorched, killing around one billion animals.

“Ash represents the start of what we’re hoping to be another successful breeding season,” says Australian Reptile Park Zookeeper, Dan Rumsey.

“Ash is estimated to be five months old and is right on track to be emerging from the pouch for the first time.”

“Her mother Rosie has shown exemplary parenting skills and we know that Ash is in good paws,” Rumsey added.

Up to 30 percent of the koala population on the mid-north coast of the country may have been killed in the fires.

Global conservation group International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) estimated at least 5,000 koalas died. According to a report published in March, there is a dire and immediate threat of extinction to the species.

“Koalas are particularly vulnerable to bushfires as they are slow-moving and live in eucalyptus trees that burn quickly and intensely,” IFAW Wildlife Campaigner Josey Sharrad previously told CNN.

Fortunately, several animals injured in the fires were re-released into the wild at the end of April. The koalas had been treated at the world’s only all-koala hospital in Port Macquarie in New South Wales.

As for baby Ash, the Australian Reptile Park will be reopening after a two-month temporary closure now that the country is relaxing its lockdown guidelines.

Visitors will be able to see Ash with her mom, Rosie, and all the other cute koalas living at the park.

View this post on Instagram

🌟EXCITING NEWS! 🌟 The Australian Reptile Park will reopen on Monday 1 June 2020! Our dedicated staff have been working throughout lockdown to care for our animals, and now, we’re unbelievably excited to reopen our doors and welcome you back in a careful and responsible way. During this time, we will be operating a little differently to ensure the safety of our guests, animals and staff. To ensure our visitors have the Best Family FUN Day Out, the Australian Reptile Park is offering FREE one-hour, guided tours included with their general admission ticket! The Park is open as usual and the guided tours will be limited to nine visitors per group. This guided tour will take visitors on an amazing journey throughout the Australian Reptile Park, behind the scenes, and includes animal encounters. The free tours are optional for guests and will be run between 9.30am and 2.30pm and visitors will be allocated tour times upon arrival to the Park. General admission and park access will return to normal and is from 9am – 5pm daily. GENERAL ADMISSION IS AS NORMAL AND TOURS ARE AN ADDED EXTRA, FREE AND OPTIONAL! We are requesting our visitors to pre-book tickets online prior to your visit, you can do so here: https://bit.ly/OnlineTicketsARP (link in bio) Existing Annual Pass Holders do not need to book in advance and all passes will be extended for the period we were closed (two months). During these uncertain times, visiting a wildlife park with your family is the best way to connect with nature and each other. With ample space for social distancing, the Australian Reptile Park is one of the safest places for you and your family to visit now COVID-19 restrictions are easing. For all information on how the Australian Reptile Park is taking extra precautions to keep visitors, our staff and our animals safe, please click here: https://reptilepark.com.au/reopening-information/ . . . . . . . . . #thisiscentralcoast #australia #sydneyactivities #fun #thingstodoinsydney #sydney #centralcoast #viral #cute #cuteanimals #newsouthwales #animalfriends #australiananimal #seeaustralia @australia

A post shared by Australian Reptile Park (@australianreptilepark) on

Susan LaMarca

Written by Susan LaMarca