Tiny Koala Who Lost His Mom Gets Stronger In Cozy Blankets
This is Balou.
We may never know why his mom left him behind, but we do know that he's lucky to be alive.
"I've lived in close presence of koalas for twenty years," Betty Blue, a resident of Rosebank, Australia, wrote on Facebook, describing how she came to find Balou. "The mother had been around for a few days, so when we first heard the little meeping we thought nothing of it, but the next night I decided to investigate and was quite surprised to find him on the ground, no mom in sight."
Blue contacted people who could help little Balou survive. Wildlife caretakers from Friends of the Koala, a nursery and care center in New South Wales, Australia, arrived at the Blue residence to bring Balou to his new foster home, where he'll gain his strength for the next six to eight months. Cold and hungry, the little Koala didn't even weigh a whole pound.
But already, just days later, he's doing much better.
"Balou was placed with his home carer the day after he came into care," Susannah Keogh, care coordinator at Friends of the Koala, Inc., told The Dodo. "They need to form a bond quickly so that he continues to eat and grow as he should. I am happy to report he is completely in love with his foster mom and is taking his milk like a pro."
Koalas need to develop a special digestive bacteria in order to eat eucalyptus leaves, which are toxic without it. A video captures Balou having his first taste of "fecal pap."
"In the wild, the mother koala would pass her gut bacteria through her feces to her young," Keogh said. "It is a major step in their development ... As you can see, he is totally loving the pap and will no doubt be trying his first eucalyptus leaf in the days to come."
Balou is also growing up with a foster brother, Nino, who was found thrown from his mother's pouch after she was hit and killed by a car.
Nino is a little further along in his recovery, slowly learning to climb.
"I am looking forward to him being raised up by a wonderful local carer," Blue wrote. "He will be released back here when he's older."
Friends of the Koala, Inc. helps about 300 koalas per year.