Australia has always been lauded for its wildlife. It’s abundant in various species from mammals to insects.
They take pride in their wildlife and much effort is being made into preserving it.
When it comes to koalas however, Australia is both attempting to preserve and help it to flourish again.
Koalas are headed into extinction and by the year 2050, they are predicted to be genetically extinct. But the staff at the Australian Reptile Park are hoping that they are able to change this trajectory.
The staff is breeding koala joeys in an attempt to increase their numbers. This year, they have bred seven joeys.
Six are on display at the Central Coast wildlife Sanctuary. But one of them is making headlines for being so darn cute!
Elsa was born to Irene, a koala that was showing signs of mastitis.
Mastitis is the inflammation of the mammary gland. Thus, Elsa was placed in the care of park curator, Hayley Shute, and her family, in order to aid in her growth.
Shute is known as the “resident koala whisperer” so it was only fitting that little Elsa would fall under her care.
Shute is a mother of three and has said taking care of Elsa is like taking care of a newborn child.
Elsa is only 7-months-old.
Just like a newborn, Elsa feeds several times throughout the day. Shute says Elsa is fed through a bottle seven times a day! Sometimes she eats eucalyptus leaves.
What a treat!
Shute lets her kids name the animals that she cares for. It was her 4-year-old daughter who came up with the name Elsa. This, of course, was after the family took a trip to Disney World.
Shute says that Elsa aso enjoys the movie in which she is named after the main character in Frozen. She says that anytime her kids are watching it, she pokes her head out of her pouch to watch as well.
While Shute and her family look after Elsa, Irene receives veterinary care. Fortunately, she is expected to make a full recovery.
When she is released, Elsa will be reunited with her mother.
Until then, Elsa enjoys cuddles with Shute. Shute says her favorite time to cuddle is after she’s been fed.
She really is just like a newborn!
“All through the night, I’m up,” Shute says. “Pretty much through the day, she wants to sleep.”
But unlike newborn children (or maybe just like newborn children), Elsa recently learned how to climb up Shute’s back and rest on the back of her neck.
As the public has taken to Elsa’s cuteness, she has since been made an ambassador for the park’s conservation efforts.
Though Elsa now has a job to do, she and Shute have bonded after the lengthy amount of time they spend together,
“I’m definitely bonded to her,” Shute says. “She looks for me now which is really cute.”
The park says that koalas are becoming extinct due to several factors including deforestation, fragmentation, and even cars and dogs.
“We need to make sure we’re not cutting down their trees and planting new ones,” Shute says.
What can you do to help the wildlife efforts in your area?
Shute says to just be ready.
“…having your local carer or wildlife group number up on the fridge so that if you do see anything of concern, you can call them straight away to come and help…”
Watch the video below to see Shute and Elsa spending quality time with each other!
Below that, you can watch their interview as well!
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