The wildfires in Australia took a devastating toll on native wildlife, specifically koalas. In a sign of hope for the future of these species, the Australian Reptile Park has reported the first birth of a baby koala, also called a joey, since the fires in early 2020.
The park made the announcement in a Facebook video this week and have named the new koala Ash.
According to the report from the global conservation group International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), at least 5,000 koalas are estimated to have died in this year’s bushfires. The species now faces potential extinction, but the park has called the joey “a sign of hope for the future of Australia’s native wildlife.”
In addition to this new birth, several koalas who were being treated at the world’s only all-koala hospital, located in the New South Wales town of Port Macquarie, were released back into the wild at the end of April.
The Australia Reptile Park is currently closed in adherence to social distancing guidelines but is excited to share the new birth with the public when they reopen.