By Janine Duffy
2020 has started as a tough year for koalas, and the people who love them.
But in the You Yangs, near Melbourne, we were lucky. No fires came our way. There was extreme heat, which is hard to bear, but no flames. My heart goes out to those who had the heat and the flames. I watched, and I wept, as did millions of people worldwide. If only tears were rain.
So to watch this video in mid March brightened my year.
Most koala babies are born in summer – the hottest part of the year. It’s not enough that these mother koalas suffer through 45 degrees Celsius, they are doing that and giving birth.
One of our female koalas, KiKi, was looking very tired on those hot days. We guessed she was pregnant. But it took this wonderful video to confirm our hopes.
If this koala joey was born in December it is 3 months old in this video. At this stage, the joey is never outside the pouch. She/he has no fur, and is very small (about 70grams).
In April the joey will have her first fur and her weight will double. In May she will open her eyes and start to peek outside the pouch. By June or July she may emerge completely, and spend most of her time hidden in a mummy cuddle on her mother’s belly.
By August she should be clambering all over her mother – back, front, side, head and learning to eat leaves as well as drink milk.
Sometime between September and December she will become independent, and either leave her mother completely to find a new home (as her mother KiKi did), or stay near her mother as her big sister Kozo has done.
Our wild koalas are trying really hard to survive. All they need is a little help from us.
Sign a petition today to protect a forest, so that a joey like this one can live a full life.
NOTES & REFERENCES:
The best information on koala joey weights and development here: http://www.wombaroo.com.au/native-wildlife/koala/koala-milk-replacer-early and here: http://www.wombaroo.com.au/resources/Milk%20for%20Koalas.pdf