Ash is the first Koala born at the park since the tragic Australian bushfires and is a sign of hope for the future of Australia’s native wildlife.
At the beginning of 2020, before the Coronavirus pandemic took over our lives, the world was devastated by the ravaging Australian bushfires. It devastated thousands of homes and killed a large number of native animals. But one of the most affected ones was the Koalas who suffered a huge number of deaths. According to reports, up to 85 percent of koalas on the New South Wales mid-north coast may have been killed, but firefighters and rescue workers braved the fires and rescued as many as they could.
Those efforts have paid off as CNN reports a baby koala has been born at an Australian wildlife park for the first time since the devastating bushfires. Australian Reptile Park announced the news via Facebook. The caption of the post reads, "We have a very special announcement... Our very first koala of the season has popped out of Mum's pouch to say hello! Keepers have decided to name her Ash! Ash is the first Koala born at the park since the tragic Australian bushfires and is a sign of hope for the future of Australia’s native wildlife."
The park is also going to reopen on Monday and they revealed this information in another Facebook video. Throughout the quarantine, the zookeepers have posted a steady stream of videos and in turn, garnered the attention of millions of viewers who were curious to know the animals. With Ash being born during such a time of despair and hopelessness, it instills us with the thought that not all is lost.
After the bushfires, the population of koalas took a massive hit, but with Ash in the picture, we can hope that the koala population will be saved. According to a report by the global conservation group International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), 5,000 koalas were estimated dead. Josey Sharrad, IFAW Wildlife Campaigner said, "Koalas are particularly vulnerable to bushfires as they are slow-moving and live in eucalyptus trees that burn quickly and intensely. When fires sweep through their homes, they often don't have time to escape, particularly in intense crown fires that rage through the treetops where they live."
According to another report, Dan Rumsey, Australian Reptile Park Zookeeper said, "Ash represents the start of what we're hoping to be another successful breeding season. It was such an incredible moment when we saw Ash poke her head out of her mum's pouch for the first time!" The experts have also mentioned that it will be a long journey to help get back the koala population on its feet and it will require the support of government and private establishments.
Apart from the birth of Ash, there was another good news for koalas at the end of April, when several marsupials who were injured were released into the wild. The fluffy marsupials were treated for their injuries in the world's only all-koala hospital, located in the New South Wales town of Port Macquarie. The most famous patient in the hospital was a female Koala named Anwen, whose photos went viral. She was one of the first koalas to return to the wild.