Mon, Jul 23, 2012 - Page 3 News List

Baby koala bear finally appears at Taipei Zoo

PEEK-A-BOO:The tiny joey, which was first observed a week and half ago, is a triumph for zoo staff who arranged for a natural mating recently

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

Taipei Zoo yesterday said a baby koala had finally come out of its mother’s pouch, 179 days after it was born and could now be seen by visitors.

The zoo said on July 12, the 179th day in which the joey had been in its mother’s pouch, that the baby koala was observed venturing out of the pouch and on to its mother’s chest and legs at 4:25pm.

The natural mating of the joey’s mother, named Tiwi, and father, named Quby, was arranged on Dec. 10 last year and the baby was found in Tiwi’s pouch during an inspection on Jan. 15 this year, the zoo said, adding that Tiwi is a first-time mother.

According to Australian statistics, the average mortality rate of first-born koalas is 70 percent, mostly because of the lack of experience of first-time mothers and due to infection or accidents, the zoo said.

When the joey reaches about five months in its mother’s pouch, it will begin feeding on pap — a secretion from the mother’s digestive system that will give the joey the bacteria it needs to digest eucalyptus leaves when it grows up, the zoo said.

The zoo said visitors should remain quiet if the koalas are sleeping during their visit to the exhibit, because koalas spend about 18 to 20 hours sleeping or resting per day.

Guided tours are provided at the zoo during the day and story times for children are held at 4pm every Thursday and Saturday.

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