A baby kolala recently born at Riverbanks Zoo is making its first public appearance.
Born last October to parents Jimmie and Lottie, the koala joey spent nearly seven months growing in its mother’s pouch before fully emerging.
“Koala joeys start out about the size of a jelly bean and will on average spend six to seven months nursing and developing in their mother’s pouch before they are ready to begin exploring the outside world – typically one limb at a time or by poking their head out on occasion,” said John Davis, curator of mammals at Riverbanks Zoo and Garden.
After a few weeks of confidence-building peek-a-boo, joeys are then ready to venture out completely but will remain very close with mom for several more months, often riding on her back or clinging to her side. At about a year old, joeys are mature enough to be fully weaned from their mothers.
This birth marks the fourth offspring for Jimmie and the sixth for Lottie. Lottie came to Riverbanks from Australia in October 2003, as a result of a sister-state relationship between South Carolina and Queensland, Australia. Jimmie, the father, came to Riverbanks from Los Angeles Zoo in December 2008.
Guests attending Riverbank’s ZOOfari — the zoo’s annual fundraiser hosted by Riverbanks Society — will have an opportunity to bid on naming the koala joey as part of a silent auction during the event. ZOOfari will take place on Sept. 28. More information will be available at www.riverbanks.org.
From Riverbanks Zoo and Garden.