21 October 2010
What a wonderful time Spring is at Australia Zoo. The koalas are singing their own song of love, as the boys and girls call out to each other with their truly unique bellow. Although some might say their call of love sounds more like a cross between a grunt and a snore, it is love none the less.
Spring also brings some other rather special action, as we have the joy, and privilege, of watching with wonder at the incredible bond between our committed koala mums and their new little bundles of joy.
The Koala Department is alive with the activity of little koala joeys making their first appearances out of the pouch, while others are taking their first steps of independence away from mum. Our Koala Crew is very busy keeping a close eye on the 6 latest additions to the Australia Zoo Koala Family.
Five of these mischievous little adventurers live at the Koala Walk, where mums and bubs are able to live high in the trees and do what koalas do best - eat, sleep and look seriously cute! It's a bit like a mummy day care centre. Let us explain: there are two little joeys, who at just 10 months cause more than their fair share of excitement. They seem to delight in both confusing and challenging their mums....and their keepers, by playing swapsy of an evening. Like little jockeys, they don't hesitate to jump on the back of the different mums and sometimes even the unsuspecting ‘single' girls, and hitch a ride to the furthest corners of their home range. Come morning, the arduous task of reuniting these little adventurers with their correct mum begins. Yes, even with each joey weighing just kilogram or so in weight and looking more like little balls of grey fluff than a koala, the keepers know which bub is which and who they belong to!
Whilst there is no doubt that the mums enjoy the occasional ‘night off', they never stop listening out for their little treasures. On occasions, when the adventure of traveling to what seems likes the furthest corners of the world (actually it's just their enclosure) gets a little scary, they make their own unmistakable call for their mum. Being the good mummies that they are, they then come in search of their joey. Stirred from their sleep (although not always happily), they'll make their way down from their resting place, all the while listening intently for the direction of their baby's call. They make their own vocalisation, which sounds a little like a soft grunt, to let the joey know that they heard them and are on their way.
Once pin-pointed, mum is clearly relieved to be reunited with her joey, however a bit of hard love then comes in to play. Mum may give her joey a little nip or the occasional smack (koala style), accompanied by the obligatory koala grunt, to let them know that they've been a little too clever for their own good. This is when most of the joeys know when to quit while they are ahead and climb aboard for a more familiar journey on their mum's back. And so begins a new day for our little pint size adventurers. Snuggled safely on the chest or into the back of their mum, each one of these youngsters are no doubt planning their next big adventure.
3 Zoo Comments