Rescued at just 150 days of age, at a weight of a little over 17 ounces, this wee koala joey was barely at a stage where “she would have been starting to poke her head out of mum’s pouch.” Instead she found herself staring up at (and in the arms of) a human surrogate mama, Werribee Vet Nurse Jess Rice.
As they were unable to save her mother, after both fell from a tree “in a Blue-gum plantation logging area,” veterinarians from the Werribee Open Range Zoo in Australia took great care to treat not only the physical injuries (they set the joey’s tiny fractured limb with a wrapped cast) but the emotional ones as well by endeavoring to replicate the love and attention koala mothers shower upon their young (a teddy bear helped with that!). A “marsupial milk replacer” administered every four hours by the care team, was vital to the survival of the orphaned baby koala as “joeys that size don’t have a good survival rate in care.”
“This tiny koala joey is lucky to be alive. Orphaned at just four months old she was brought to Werribee Open Range Zoo where she was treated for a fractured arm and cared for around the clock by Vet Nurse Jess.”
Jess: “She is still on her mother’s milk so we give them supplementary milk called biolac (unintelligible) and she took that very well. We try and replicate their mother as much as possible. We do not have the fur that their mothers do so that we cannot have them hanging off of us and they have got such sharp claws that we give them a nice teddy bear to hold on to and it is a comfort thing.”
She will now spend over a year with a koala carer and fingers crossed after that, a return to the wild!” Werribee Free Range Zoo
Transcribed from video Tiny Koala Joey Saved
Note: As of this post there have been no official updates (in over a year), by the Werribee Free Range Zoo, on this rescued baby koala, as to her health or to the status of her ability to be released back into the wild.
Source: Werribee Zoo saves koala joey
Images: by Werribee Open Range Zoo who rescued baby koala joey & put cast on broken arm; with vet nurse Jess Rice
Watch YouTube video Tiny Koala Joey Saved
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