South Florida zoo celebrates birth of baby koala

A Florida zoo is celebrating the arrival of a baby koala.

Zoo Miami said the baby was actually born in May of 2019. However, the waited until now to announce the birth since the infant first emerged from its mother's pouch on Wednesday. 

Marsupials tend to have very short pregnancies, which only last about 30 days. It takes much longer for them to actually develop in their mother's pouch. When koalas are born, they are only about the size of a bumblebee, zookeepers said, noting they are practically still in an embryonic state with non-developed eyes. The baby stays in the mother's pouch for about six months before it finally emerges.

"Those 6 months are the most precarious of the infant's life," said the zoo's communications director Ron Magill. "Zoo Miami lost several joeys during this period in the past, so it is not until it finally emerges from the pouch and is strong and healthy that zoo staff can breathe a sigh of relief and truly celebrate."


Courtesy: Zoo Miami

While the baby's gender has not yet been determined, the zoo decided to name the joey "Hope" in light of the devastating fires in Australia.

"It is our desire that this baby koala will help to bring a small ray of hope to all that are suffering in Australia and be a symbol for a positive future for the priceless wildlife that lives there," Magill said.

Zoo Miami said it will make a $10,000 donation to the Zoos Victoria Bushfire Emergency Wildlife Fund to help with animal rescue effort.

"Hope" was born to mother "Rinny" and father "Milo." The baby is the first koala born at Zoo Miami in over 28 years.


Courtesy: Zoo Miami