The Australian wildfires brought devastation in early 2020. Thousands lost homes, some lost lives, and untold wildlife was killed as the fires raged across New South Wales.
One only has to cast their mind back to the beginning of the year to remember just how badly impacted the wildlife of Australia was. Koala bears were particularly affected. Unable to flee and unsure of how to react, their numbers rapidly began to dwindle.
A study by the International Fund for Animal Welfare reported over 6,000 koalas had died in the wildfires, with many calling for the animals to be classified as endangered in a bid to further protect them.
Yet almost three months after the fires were finally put under control, new hope has appeared. The Australian Reptile Park in Somersby, Australia, has announced its first koala birth since the devastating fires. The joey, a little girl, has been named Ash.
Taking to social media to announce the good news, the park wrote:
“We have a very special announcement … Our very first koala of the season has popped out of Mums pouch to say hello! 🐨
Keepers have decided to name her Ash! Ash is the first koala born at the park since the tragic Australian bushfires and is a sign of hope for the future of Australia’s native wildlife.”
“Ash represents the start of what we’re hoping to be another successful breeding season,” park zookeeper Dan Rumsey told BuzzFeed. “It was such an incredible moment when we saw Ash poke her head out of her mum’s pouch for the first time!”
Staff at the park have worked tirelessly to keep the animals safe in light of it being closed to visitors (first because of the fires and then due to COVID-19).
The impact the wildfires had on the koala bear population, meanwhile, cannot be understated.
Josey Sharrad, IFAW wildlife campaigner, explained at the time:
“Koalas were already living on the brink before these fires, with populations declining in many areas due to excessive land clearing, disease and roadkill, and local extinctions already known to have occurred. This disaster and the ongoing nature of the threats could push koalas over the edge.
“This is a koala emergency. Koalas must be immediately uplisted to Endangered on an emergency basis and a moratorium on all harmful activities impacting koalas enforced to allow surviving populations some breathing space while their capacity to recover is further assessed.”
Protecting our endangered species should be of paramount importance in this day and age. I can’t bear the idea that my children will grow up in a world without animals like koala bears, simply because we didn’t take the threat seriously.
Share this article if you’re happy to hear of the birth of Ash! And to send your support to all the endangered species of the world.