Australian wildlife park welcomes first baby koala following bushfires
Incredible news for all involved.
An Australian wildfire park has welcomed its first baby koala following the devastating bushfires of last year.
Born in the Australian Reptile Park, the joey - aptly named Ash - peered out of her mother's pouch for the first time earlier this month.
The first to be welcomed in the park since bushfires raged across the country late last year, Ash is a symbol of the hope for Australian wildlife, as they continue to rebuild their habitats in the wake of the devastation.
Zookeeper Dan Rumsey told News.com/au that baby Ash was born in January, but she had to remain in the pouch for a few months to ensure that she was strong enough to survive.
“They’re ambassadors for koalas in the wild: the ones who truly suffered in the bushfires,” he said.
“Koalas are iconic, and even though ours are bred in captivity, we like to think we’re helping the fairly decimated population.
“Ash represents the start of what we’re hoping to be another successful breeding season.”
This comes after reports that the Australian bushfires had destroyed 80 percent of koalas' habitats, making them "functionally extinct."
According to Forbes, "functional extinction" occurs when an animal population becomes so limited that they can no longer play a significant role in their ecosystem.
A koala's main source of sustenance comes from the eucalyptus tree, a considerable proportion of which were destroyed by the bushfires.
Many koalas had to be rescued from fires last year. They later received treatment for their burns,
You can check out Australian Reptile Park's video of baby Ash here: