Months After Devastating Bushfires, Australian Park Welcomes Its First Baby Koala (Video)

The adorable joey is named Ash.

Hope is still alive in the Land Down Under.

There is a bit of good news to celebrate in Australia after months of devastating events, ranging from the destructive bushfires and the worldwide coronavirus outbreak. According to BuzzFeed News, the first koala joey since the bushfires began has been born in the Australian Reptile Park in Somersby, New South Wales.

Australian Reptile Park's Koala gives birth to Joey
Courtesy of Australian Reptile Park

The bushfires, which began back in September 2019, according to Insider, have destroyed much of the landscape and wildlife in New South Wales and Victoria. Amongst the most impacted wildlife species were koalas. Although rescue groups and even individuals have tried to do their part to protect this unique animal, over 30 percent of koalas in New South Wales alone were killed in the fires, as of December 2019, according to The Guardian. A shocking one billion animals and 33 humans died in the fires, according to BuzzFeed News.

Now, as Australia rebuilds after the fires and hopes to slowly return to normal life after coronavirus, the baby joey is one reason to feel hopeful about the country’s future.

The joey has been named Ash, in remembrance of the fires. Australian Reptile Park Zookeeper, Dan Rumsey told BuzzFeed News, “Ash represents the start of what we’re hoping to be another successful breeding season. It was such an incredible moment when we saw Ash poke her head out of her mum’s pouch for the first time!

Australian Reptile Park's Koala gives birth to Joey
Courtesy of Australian Reptile Park

Ash is about five months old and is now starting to emerge from his mother’s (named Rosie) pouch, BuzzFeed News reported. In addition, the park plans to reopen to visitors starting June 1, so locals and tourists may be able to get a glimpse of this adorable baby animal.

Rehabilitation for surviving koalas across the New South Wales has also gone well. Sydney's Taronga Zoo announced this week that they have released five koalas, who were rescued during the fires, back into the wild.

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