Taronga Zoo's Gentle One-Eyed Koala Tortuga Proves A Hit With His Female Companion

Tortuga, an 8-year-old male koala, recovers from eye surgery at Taronga Zoo. Picture: Toby ZernaSource: News Limited

He was left with one eye and a disfigured face after being hit by a car last year, but that hasn’t seemed to hurt Tortuga’s chances with the ladies.

Eight-year-old koala Tortuga arrived at Taronga Zoo late last year as a potential breeding partner, after emergency surgery failed to save his eye.

Tortuga recovering in the koala sanctuary. Source: News Limited

Despite his disfigurement, Tortuga’s reserved and gentle nature has proved popular with the females and he has moved into an enclosure with Lillian and her joey.

“He is really sweet to live with, a gentle guy, whereas most of the boys are a real challenge to live with,” koala keeper Laura Jones said.

“Most males are very territorial and challenge other males (and) … often fight with other males, bellowing a lot and expending lots of energy to attract females.

“But I haven’t heard Tortuga bellow yet so we are hoping he is just a bit shy.”

Tortuga will take part in the koala breeding program, which runs from November to February.

Libby Hall, Hospital Manager at the zoo. Source: News Limited

“He came a bit late this season to give him a real go so next summer will be his real test to see if he can father any joeys,” Ms Jones said.

Taronga Wildlife Hospital manager Libby Hall said Tortuga’s story should serve as a reminder for motorists to be careful with wildlife crossing the road.

Koalas especially during mating season move around more on the ground, which often puts them in the path of cars, the cause a large number of koala injuries and deaths.

Taronga is home to 21 koalas although staff are hoping this number will increase soon through the zoo’s successful breeding program.

Tortuga was named after the fabled pirate island in the Carribbean, after keepers resisted the initial urge to opt for Blinky Bill or Captain Jack.

One of the zoo breeding program’s spring babies, tiny Eliza. Source: News Limited

Story By Adam Bell | Mosman Daily | February 07, 2014 11:37AM.

Source: http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/newslocal/north-shore/taronga-zoos-gentle-oneeyed-koala-tortuga-proves-a-hit-with-his-female-companions/story-fngr8h9d-1226819748207

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