A little koala joey has been fitted with a tiny cast to repair her broken arm after her mother fell from a tree on a logging plantation.
The joey is approximately 5 months old, and weighs less than 500 grams. She is so small that she fits in the palm of a human hand.
The poor baby was taken to Weribee Open Range Zoo last month after miraculously surviving the long fall. Sadly, her mother had to be euthanized due to the extent of her injuries.
Jess Rice, Werribee Zoo vet nurse said:
“Joeys that size don’t have a good survival rate in care. 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”
The brave little creature immediately had an x-ray after being brought into the zoo, which is when it was discovered that its right arm, which is not much a thicker than a finger, had been broken in the fall. The vets fitted a tiny cast to help heal her bones.
Like all babies, the joey needed around-the-clock care, including feeding a marsupial milk replacement every four hours.
She was introduced to a stuffed toy as a surrogate mother to help teach the joey how to hang off fur, like she would’ve done naturally.
Vet Jess 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.”
Despite a tragic start to life, the little joey is making a strong recovery and will live in the wildlife centre for at least a year before she is old enough to be released into the wild.
Hats off to Jess Rice and all at Weribee Open Range Zoo!