Wild Encounters: New Koala

Wild Encounters

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WJBF) – We’re here at Riverbanks Zoo for another edition of Wild Encounters and today we’re meeting the newest member of the family, Coedie the Koala.

Catherine is here to talk about Coedie the brand new koala at Riverbanks Zoo, and how he ended up being here.

Catherine Connell, Senior Keeper: Coedie is here with the SSP recommendation. That’s the Species Survival Plan. So, we have a younger koala, a female named Charlotte, and we did not have a male for her to breed with. So, the SSP recommended Coedie to come here to breed with Charlotte.

“And why is it so important to have him here for the breeding purposes?”

Catherine: So, the reason we do breeding in zoos is in case there is a situation…recently we had our wildfires in Australia…so, the koala population went down. So, it’s important to have a good, diverse population in zoos in case they needed koalas to be re-released in the wild. We would have ones here in zoos that would be an option.

“Now, what’s his time been like here? Has he been getting along with the other koalas?”

Catherine: So, koalas are solitary animals, which means they mostly spend time by themselves; but he has met Charlotte, he’s been beside her, he’s seen her, and they seem to like each other.

“We were talking a little bit earlier about how he looks. He’s got a couple of cool patterns on him. So, let’s talk a little bit about that.”

Catherine: So, koalas have what we call counter-camouflage, which means that they kind of stand out, which may seem weird, you know. Why would you want to stand out? But, say you’re in the wild and you’re living in a tree and a bird flies over and they see gray…you look down and think it’s the ground or a rock or something like that. They also have a white rear so when a predator on the ground looks up and they think they see a cloud or the sky. So, they just keep moseying around. So, that’s how they actually defend themselves in the wild: by coloration.

“So, let’s talk about some of the breeding successes you have going on here at Riverbanks Zoo and what you guys are hoping for in the long run for Coedie.”

Catherine: We have a female koala. Her name is Lottie and she’s 18 years old and that’s actually pretty old for a koala. She has had 11 joeys here at Riverbanks and Charlotte was her last joey. So, we actually named Charlotte after Lottie. So, if you didn’t know, Lottie is short for Charlotte. And then we were fortunate enough to be able to keep her here and bring Coedie in and we’re hoping she has just as much success as her mother did, because her mother has been amazing.

Well, there you have it, guys. The brand new member of the family, Coedie the Koala. He’s absolutely adorable and I think he’s my new favorite. We’ll see you next time for another edition of Wild Encounters.


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