New female koala in Dresden
Animal news | 2 December 2022
Dresden Zoo has a new female koala. Eerin from Duisburg Zoo moved into the show enclosure in Prof. Brandes House this afternoon, which she will inhabit together with Dresden’s female koala Sydney. The pair have met before – in November last year, Sydney stayed at Duisburg Zoo for nearly six months and lived with Eerin and other female koalas in an enclosure there. Duisburg Zoo reports that Eerin is now setting off on a return visit with an important mission. The two-year-old female is to be mated with our male Mullaya in Dresden. “Eerin and Mullaya are a good genetic match, neither has had any offspring yet and we hope that the two of them will hit it off,” says Dr Kerstin Ternes, veterinarian at Duisburg Zoo, who also coordinates the conservation breeding of koalas throughout Europe.
Eerin took the 600-km journey in her stride. “She is completely relaxed, ate during the journey and immediately turned her attention to exploring her new home,” says section manager Mario Chindemi, who accompanied his ward to her new home and handed her over to the care of his colleagues in Dresden. Olaf Lohnitz is pleased to welcome the newcomer, whom he had previously observed in Duisburg: “Eerin is a very outgoing and friendly animal and helped the other females raise their young.”
Eerin the koala was born at Duisburg Zoo on 14 June 2020. Her story is a special one: When she was just a few months old, Chindemi’s team of carers had to intervene and feed Eerin with extra milk at times. Hair in her mother Eora’s pouch had become wrapped around a teat, restricting the flow of milk. “Eerin was weak; she just fit on the palm of a human hand and needed our assistance. We naturally acted straight away to help her get a good start in life,” Chindemi recalls. The tiny marsupial was fed special koala milk for weeks. “The fact that our Eerin is now meeting a suitable partner makes us all very happy, and we’re keep our fingers crossed that everything will work out,” says Chindemi. For everything to ‘work out’, this would mean that Eerin becomes pregnant and a small koala measuring around two to three centimetres is born after about 30 days, which then crawls into the mother’s pouch to nurse. It takes another six months for the young animal to emerge from the pouch. The question of how long Eerin will stay in Dresden hasn’t been decided yet. “For now, we’re happy to be able to present three koalas to our visitors,” says Olaf Lohnitz with a smile as he watches Eerin curiously explore her Dresden enclosure.