For the last half of 2019 and well into 2020, Australia was on fire. In some of the worst wildfires on record, the world watched as the land down under burned – and the wildlife along with it.
But in the wake of all the death and devastation, there is a beautiful ray of hope that has emerged from an animal center in Australia. In an Instagram video, the Australian Reptile Park located in Somersby, Australia, released some very joyful news: they had a new addition in the form of Ash, a little baby koala.
Ash’s birth is a major milestone – being the first newborn since the fires that killed more than 1 billion of Australia’s wild animals.
The post’s announcement of the birth read, “We have a very special announcement… Our very first koala of the season has popped out of Mum’s pouch to say hello! 🐨 Keepers have decided to name her Ash! Ash is the first koala born at the park since the tragic Australian bushfires and is a sign of hope for the future of Australia’s native wildlife.”
Included was a very sweet video as the koala mother’s caregivers discover that she had a little baby koala in her pouch. Naturally, the moment was a big one for celebration, and the precious mother was embraced by the caregivers, and her baby was welcomed with so much joy and happiness.
Following the wonderful news, the Australian Reptile Park had another exciting announcement. Since they had been closed for a few months because of the COVID-19 pandemic, they would finally be reopening to the public on the 1st of June. The park released a statement in which they thanked their staff for the dedication to the animals’ care during the closure, but that they were excited to be reopening to the public once again. We can only imagine that the public is excited by this as well.
The country’s ecosystem has seen so much devastation by the months of fires and destruction. The fires were finally deemed as “contained” in February after have been burning since the autumn months.
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Our very first koala of the season has popped out of Mums pouch to say hello! 🐨 Keepers have decided to name her Ash! Ash is the first koala born at the park since the tragic Australian bushfires and is a sign of hope for the future of Australia’s native wildlife. . . . . . . . . . . #thisiscentralcoast #australia #sydneyactivities #fun #thingstodoinsydney #sydney #centralcoast #viral #cute #cuteanimals #newsouthwales #selfisolation #stayhome #animalfriends #australiananimal #koala #elsathekoala #cutekoalas #seeaustralia @australia #koala #koalajoey
At the time of the fires and their final containment, the New South Wales Rural Fire Service expressed how different and traumatic that particular fire season had been as compared to all the others. They wrote a major thank you to all the firefighters, emergency services, and communities in the affected areas who stepped up and did their part.
Earlier in the year, there were studies conducted by the International Fund for Animal Welfare and the Biolink research group, which estimated that at least 12% of the New South Wales’ koala population, about 5,000 koalas, were killed in the fires. In fact, the research suggested that the fires were so devastating on koala populations, that they were classified as endangered. The sad part is that the same report stated that the koala population in New South Wales has seen a loss of up to two-thirds because of such factors like drought and bush fires, but also because of man-made problems as well.
Hopefully baby Ash’s birth can signify the start of something wonderful for the koalas of New South Wales.
Anastasia is an American writer and journalist living in Dublin, Ireland. Her Twitter is @AnastasiaArell5.