Tabby the Koala's Close Call
Meet Tabby. Don’t let her small size and fuzzy face fool you, because this little koala is a fighter.
At just 7 months old and about the size of a new-born kitten, Tabby fell from her mother’s pouch early one morning. As if falling from up a tree isn’t bad enough, it was also the middle of winter.
By the time little Tabby was spotted on the ground she was fairly unresponsive and suffering from hypothermia, which can occur very quickly in such a young koala. She was immediately scooped up and taken to our wildlife hospital where our vet and head koala keeper took turns warming her up using their body heat to help her regain a normal temperature.
It was touch-and-go, but eventually Tabby became responsive enough to be returned to her mother’s pouch. Unfortunately, the tough times were far from over. A week after her fall she still hadn’t gained any weight and was becoming increasingly frail. She was placed on supplemental milk feeds twice a day to boost her condition, but the next month showed little improvement and the outlook wasn’t good. Even after switching to different milk and being placed on antibiotics, progress was slow and each day was a small victory.
Finally, after months of meticulous care, Tabby started to show some signs of improvement. It’s certainly been a tough journey, but she has come a long way and even managed to reach a normal weaning weight by her first birthday which was on the 23rd of November, 2019.
Tabby has gone so well that she is now independent and lives away from mum with the other young females. Tabby is a little koala with a big personality, and according to our vet, Galit Rawlinson, “she loves interaction (on her terms) and has become quite a confident and endearing little girl.”
We will continue to keep a close eye on Tabby, but we can all breathe a little easier knowing that she is out of the woods and on track to lead a healthy, normal life. This could never have been possible without the quick intervention and care of our hospitaland keeping team.
Be sure to stop and visit Tabby during your next visit. If you want to know how to spot her, just look for the smallest koala in the exhibit across from our “retirement” koalas (but maybe not for long at the rate she’s growing!)