COLUMBIA, S.C. - A new koala joey has been announced by Riverbanks Zoo and Garden.
Born last October to parents Jimmie and Lottie, the baby koala spent nearly seven months growing in its mothers pouch before fully emerging and making its first public appearance at the zoo.
"Koala joeys start out about the size of a jelly bean and will on average spend six to seven months nursing and developing in their mothers pouch before they are ready to begin exploring the outside world -- typically one limb at a time or by poking their head out on occasion," said John Davis, curator of mammals at the zoo.
According to the zoo, after a few weeks of confidence-building peek-a-boo, joeys are ready to venture out completely but will remain close with mom for several more months, often riding on her back or clinging to her side. At about a year old, joeys are mature enough to be fully weaned from their mothers.
This birth marks the fourth offspring for Jimmie and the sixth for Lottie. Lottie came to Riverbanks from Australia in October 2003, as a result of a sister-state relationship between South Carolina and Queensland, Australia. Jimmie, the father, came to Riverbanks from Los Angeles Zoo in December 2008.
Guests attending Riverbanks ZOOfari -- the Zoos annual fundraiser hosted by Riverbanks Society -- will have an opportunity to bid on naming the koala joey as part of a silent auction. ZOOfari will take place on Friday, September 28. Additional details will be available at www.riverbanks.org.