Baby Koala Given Tiny Cast After Breaking Arm In Fall From Logging Plantation Tree
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In what could be simultaneously the most upsetting yet uplifting news of the day, a baby koala has been fitted with a tiny cast to repair her broken arm after falling from a tree.
The tiny joey, who was injured after miraculously surviving the long fall at the Victorian bluegum logging plantation, was admitted to the Weribee Open Range Zoo.
However, the joey’s mother was severely injured by the fall and sadly had to be put down. According to staff at the hospital, at just 150 days old and weighing less than half a kilogram, the orphaned koala should still be in her mother’s pouch.
Veterinary nurse Jess Rice told the Geelong Advertiser: “It was really touch and go when she was brought to us. She was just at the stage where she would have been starting to poke her head out of mum’s pouch. Joeys that size don’t have a good survival rate in care.”
But, thanks to the 24 hour care provided by the zoo’s incredibly dedicated staff - including feeding her with a marsupial milk replacement through a syringe, the little joey is now making a strong recovery.
An x-ray revealed the tiny joey’s right arm had been broken by the fall, so vets fitted a miniature cast to her arm to keep the tiny bones in place and - hopefully - allow them to completely heal.
On top of that, Jess also provided a surrogate mother for the baby in the form of a stuffed koala toy.
She said: “Bonding and company is really important to a joey of that age. Koala joeys are often given toys to provide comfort and teach them how to hang off the fur like they would with their mother.”
The zoo has now released the little joey to a specialist animal carer to oversee the final months of her recovery, before she is released back into the wild in roughly a year.
According to the Australian Koala Foundation, koalas in thew wild have a life expectancy of around 12 years, however it’s estimated that at least 4,000 are killed prematurely by cars and dogs each year.
However, habitat destruction remains the greatest threat to koala’s long term survival, with commercial logging responsible for the majority of the impact.
But al least this little lady will have the chance of a full and healthy life despite her incredibly tough start!
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