Baby koala makes debut appearance
Animal news | 4 October 2023
It was clear from female koala Eerin’s increasingly rounded pouch and the movements visible inside it: the baby koala was growing fast and it wouldn’t be long before we caught our first glimpse. Since the end of September, we’ve spotted the occasional foot or front paw. But yesterday, on 3rd October, the joey popped its head out of the pouch to greet us for the first time.
These sightings are still rare at the moment, but will now become more frequent. In about three or four weeks, the joey will begin venturing out of its protective pouch more often and climb onto mother Eerin’s back. At the age of about 7 to 9 months, the youngster will leave the pouch for good.
As yet, the little joey remains nameless, as its sex is still unknown. We estimate that the baby was born at the end of March 2023 – it happened away from prying eyes, so we were unable to observe it. Measuring about two centimetres in size, the hairless newborn made its own way into mother Eerin’s pouch, the opening of which is located roughly in the middle of the female’s belly. Inside the pouch, the tiny joey firmly attached itself to Eerin’s milk-producing teat and began to grow. A sphincter muscle kept the pouch tightly closed during this time. It was four to five months before the young animal in the pouch opened its eyes for the first time.
This joey is the very first koala to be born at Dresden Zoo – a great success that we are delighted about. According to the species coordinator, the situation of the European koala population is difficult. Births are few and far between because far too few animals reproduce. By successfully breeding Dresden’s koalas Eerin and Mullaya to produce an offspring, we are helping to keep the koala population stable and indeed increase it.