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Monday, October 12, 2015

Baby Koala Gets Surrogate Mother After Biological Mother Dies

A baby koala named Harry has found a surrogate mother, Kelly, at a zoo in Australia.

Caretakers from the Symbio Wildlife Park and Zoo in Australia made use of a surrogate koala mother for a baby male joey after his mother died of cancer before he was able to fully go out on his own outside her pouch.

The little joey named Harry only weighed 250 grams (about 9 ounces) at the time of his mother's death and was not yet ready to live life on his own, so the caretakers made the decision to use one of their mother koalas, Kelly, so that he can be nurtured even further.

Kelly is already a mother to a female joey named Imogen. She weighed about 500 grams (about one pound) when Harry's mother died but had already gone in an out of her mother's pouch on many occasions.

Imogen had also already obtained pap, which is an important nutrient that baby koalas must take in order for them to digest eucalyptus. She will be hand-reared like Harry.

When asked if Harry and Imogen would be released, a representative from the zoo said, "Harry and Imogen were born to captive parents and just like our other animals are all part of [our] captive animal breeding program to ensure these guys are around for long time to come."

The representative added that the zoo visitors can only take pictures of the koalas when they get older. "There are restrictions in regards to holding [koalas], however the public can cuddle up next to them," the representative said, according to The Dodo.


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