Koala news: Adorable photos show how cute the animal park weighs the marsupial | Nature | New
Longleat Safari Park in Wiltshire saw a seven-month-old female koala become the first southern koala born in Europe when her mother Violet gave birth last year. Staff should weigh the newborn marsupial to ensure it is healthy.
In an effort to make sure the baby koala stays stress-free, keepers gave her a cute soft toy while being weighed.
A Longleat Safari spokesperson explained: “The koalas’ diet consists entirely of eucalyptus leaves, so monitoring their weight closely helps us ensure they are eating enough and their digestive systems are in order.
“As well as helping us monitor his condition, the weekly weigh-in also helps him get used to our presence and allows us to give him a general health check.”
Born blind, hairless and the size of a candy, minutes after birth, a koala joey must find its way into its mother’s pouch where it continues to grow and develop.
He will occasionally leave the pouch and explore but will remain largely dependent on his mother until he is one year old.
Violet’s baby initially survived largely on milk, but has been weaned off that and onto eucalyptus leaves in recent weeks.
A eucalyptus plantation has been established on the Longleat estate to provide the koalas with a steady supply of leaves, one of the only things the marsupials eat.
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In February, the Australian government officially listed the koala as endangered after its numbers declined due to land clearing and catastrophic bushfires that reduced its habitat.
The Wilderness Society (TWS) analyzed Queensland’s most recent statewide land cover and tree survey and found that 92,718 hectares of clearing took place in koala habitats from 2018 to 2019 .
Anita Cosgrove, campaign manager for TWS Queensland, told the Guardian that species protection laws need to be enforced more rigorously and the scale of meat consumption must be taken into account.
Meanwhile, the Living Koala Genome Bank’s pilot program hopes a two-year-old koala named Jagger can help improve populations of “high genetic merit”.