Meet Archer the baby Koala Joey
16th June, 2014
Meet 8 month old Archer, the tough little Koala joey melting the hearts of Keepers at Featherdale Wildlife Park in Western Sydney.
Weighing at just 400 grams, keepers became concerned that Archer wasn’t thriving like other Koala joeys his age. “With the arrival of cold weather, we were worried that mum, Chloe wasn’t taking great care of her joey as she normally would”, Featherdale Wildlife Park’s senior Park Curator, Chad Staples said. “In the end, we made the tough decision to remove Archer from his mum and hand-raise him in order to give him the greatest chance of survival”.
A seasoned keeper, with over 15 years experience, Mr Staples has raised his fair share of baby animals, but Archer had him wrapped around a little paw from the very beginning. “You’d think after working with animals for so long, you’d develop a thick skin but Archer is pretty special. I have to admit that I’m totally smitten, who wouldn’t be!” After being placed on a special Koala milk formula, Archer has already put on 100 grams and is now starting to eat eucalyptus leaves. “We’re not too sure why he wasn’t thriving under his mother’s care”, Mr Staples said, “Chloe has raised joeys before and is normally a great mum but it could be that her milk production dried up. She seemed to have had Archer out on her back too much, at such a young age. He just wasn’t growing like other Koala joeys his age should”.
As threats to wild Koala populations increase, it is vitally important that Wildlife institutions such as Featherdale play a conservation role in highlighting the plight of the species. Road fatalities and introduced species such as dogs have decimated Koala numbers. However, it is the destruction of habitats through land clearing, bushfires and diseases such as Chlamydia and Koala Retrovirus (KoRV), which have caused the greatest threat to the species. Koalas are now listed as vulnerable in Queensland, New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory.
Located in Doonside, Western Sydney, Featherdale Wildlife Park currently houses one of Australia’s largest private collections of Koalas and provides daily free encounters where visitors are invited to get right up close and interact with these beautiful animals. These days, it is often unusual to see a Koala in the wild which makes these encounters a truly memorable experience. Once old enough, Archer will rejoin Featherdale’s Koala colony and guests will be able to meet him during their visit.