One daredevil baby koala has captured Australian hearts as he ventures out to explore the world for the first time.
The footage, posted yesterday on Australia Zoo’s Facebook account, shows the intrepid koala joey exploring the world outside his mother’s pouch. The Zoo explained the tiny baby is capable of gripping onto his mother’s fur while she goes about her business as “his little paws are like Velcro”.
The baby doesn’t have a name yet but he will learn all the skills necessary from his mother Ash in the coming year. Already he’s earned the reputation as a little daredevil as he’s busy climbing over his mother’s head while the other joeys are sleeping.
The koala joey is the first of a group of babies born as part of the zoo’s breeding programme for vulnerable species and is part of a record number of 13 baby koalas born this season.
The koala was named as ‘vulnerable to extinction’ under Australia’s 2012 Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act. Their numbers have dropped significantly in the last 100 years, primarily due to habitat displacement. The Australian Koala Foundation estimates more than 80% of the koala’s natural habitat has been destroyed.
The Zoo runs a number of programmes for other vulnerable species, including the bilby and the komodo dragon. It was opened in the 1970s by the parents of the late Steve Irwin, renowned wildlife expert and TV personality. His series ‘The Crocodile Hunter’ made the zoo a popular attraction and helped expand their conservation efforts.