Koala Joey Debuts At Zoo In Thailand

In Thailand visitors at Chaing Mai zoo got the first look at a baby koala. The little fellow is seven months old. He just emerged from his mother’s pouch last night. He’s still clinging to her and his father stays nearby. The zoo says it will hold a contest to name him.

A baby koala at a zoo in Thailand has emerged from his mother’s pouch after about seven months. TODAY.com’s Alex Witt reports the baby is a cub, a baby koala is actually called a Joey!

Chiang Mai Zoo has welcomed a new-born koala bear, as one of the four marsupials – sent from Australia to Thailand to mark the 60th anniversary of His Majesty the King’s accession to the throne – gave birth in January.

The baby had climbed into her front pouch and would stay there for five to six months before it would emerge and cling on its mother’s back.

The surprise pregnancy took place in Chiang Mai Zoo, where public attention has been focused on the female panda from China, Lin Hui, who still shows no signs of getting pregnant to her over-weight companion, despite Bt15 million being spent creating a suitable environment for the pair. Lin Hui was recently artificially inseminated.

CHIANG MAI, March 6 – The Chiang Mai Zoo today welcomed a new member born into the pouched mammal family and invited the public to join in the name competition for the newborn.

The baby koala appeared outside of his mother Simpson’s pouch for the first time this morning after seven months of pregnancy.

The breeding came naturally between 10-year-old Simpson, and a male koala named Fulla.

The newborn koala was found healthy at birth, raising the total number of koala family in the northern zoo to ten.

The zoo launched a competition urging the public to help name the koala cub.

Simpson and Fulla, and other two koalas were sent from Australia’s Taronga Zoo in an exchange with a Thai elephant from Chiang Mai Zoo under a cooperation programme of the two zoos since November 19, 2006.

In July 2006, Chiang Mai Zoo became the first zoo in Thailand to house koalas as Australia shipped four of the marsupials here to mark the 60th anniversary of His Majesty the King’s Accession to the Throne. Now, let’s welcome a newborn baby koala.

Koalas, which are native to Australia, weigh about 9 kilograms each on average. “Koala” is an Aboriginal word, meaning “no drink”. The animals get water from their chief food, eucalyptus or gum leaves.

The koala is sometimes called “koala bear” although it is not a member of the bear family but a marsupial like the kangaroo and the wombat. The trait distinguishing marsupials from other mammals is that they carry their young in pouches.

Female koalas take 2 to 3 years to reach productive age while males take 3 to 4 years. A healthy female koala can bear one offspring yearly for about 12 years.

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