An Australian wildlife park welcomes its first baby koala of the year

The Australian Reptile Park welcomed its first baby koala after the Australian bushfires.Named Ash, the baby koala signifies hope for the country.According to one report by the International Fund for Animal Welfare, koalas face the threat of extinction, so wildlife parks are working to jump-start a new generation. Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

A joey, or baby koala, peered out of her mother’s pouch for the first time this month. The baby, named Ash, is unaware of her significance. She’s the first baby koala to be born at the Australian Reptile Park after the bushfires devastated the country and its koala populations. “Ash represents the start of what we’re hoping to be another successful breeding season,” zookeeper Dan Rumsey said in a statement. The park had seven baby koalas last year, and it’s hoping to strengthen that number this year as the species faces the threat of extinction. 

Ash show signs that she’s a healthy koala joey, the zoo said. Ash was born in January but was spending time in her mother’s pouch to grow and strengthen. This was the first time the zookeeper felt safe to check in on the joey, he told News.Com.Au, an Australian news site.

Dan Rumsey, a zookeeper, and the mother koala bear, Rosie.

The Australian Reptile Park

“Ash is estimated to be 5 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 said.Ash is peeking out just in time to welcome back visitors to the park, which will reopen on Monday.

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