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Elsa, The World’s Most Famous Koala Gives Birth to A Joey of Her Own

Elsa the Koala delivers her first Joey

In 2019, the world fell in love with an adorable abandoned baby Koala, Elsa. Born at the Australian Reptile Park in Somersby, NSW, Australia, Elsa stole the hearts of millions after a video released by the park showcased a shy Elsa peeking out from a blanket in adoptive mom Haley’s arms. It was the cutest thing lighting up screens worldwide. In July 2022, Elsa, a grown-up girl, delivered a baby joey of her own, much to the delight and joy of park authorities who worked hard to ensure her survival. However, Elsa had another surprise.

Elsa’s story

Elsa the koala
Elsa as a baby. Source: YouTube, Channel: Australian Reptile Park

Elsa was born in 2019 at the Australian Reptile Park in Somersby, NSW. Unfortunately, her ailing mother, Irene, suffered from mastitis and could not care for her, so Elsa needed to be taken care of by a human.

Elsa gets an adoptive mother

Elsa and Haley
Elsa and Haley in 2019. Source: YouTube, Channel: Australian Reptile Park

Hayley Shute, the Park’s resident koala whisperer and a mom of three, took in Elsa. Hayley said caring for Elsa was like having a newborn all over again.

Named after Elsa from “Frozen”

Elsa
Bonding with Hayley. Source: YouTube, Channel: Australian Reptile Park

Named after the character from the movie “Frozen,” Elsa was charming and emotionally bonded with caretaker Hayley. The 6-month-old enjoyed her human adoptive mom’s warm hugs and cuddling and loved spending time with her. The Video of baby Elsa was a viral sensation viewed more than 15 million times.

Watch the Video of Baby Elsa Here

One of seven

Elsa koala
Elsa survived with exceptional care. Source: YouTube, Channel: Australian Reptile Park

Elsa is one of seven koala joeys born in the Australian Reptile Park in 2019. Koalas are classified as endangered in certain parts of Australia due to habitat loss, and the raging fires that have ravaged the country will dwindle their numbers even more.

Elsa was doing well with Hayley.

Elsa feeding
Elsa Feeding. Source: YouTube, Channel: Australian Reptile Park

Elsa needed to be fed seven times a day. Her diet consisted of bottled milk and eucalyptus leaves. After feeding time, Elsa loved snuggling up with her adoptive mom, Haley and was habituated to climbing and sitting on her neck; sometimes, she even cuddled inside her shirt. She was a tiny little thing, after all.

Keeper Hayley Shute’s emotional connection

Elsa at 1 year
Elsa at 1 year. Source: YouTube, Channel: Australian Reptile Park

Recalling her time raising Elsa, Shute, the Park’s resident koala whisperer, mentioned how the critical baby koala needed much care and attention. Many felt she would not make it, but Shute ensured she gave Elsa the best care possible, which paid off. She is happy that Elsa survived to become a mom with a joey of her own.

Exciting news at the Australian reptile park

Olaf, son of Elsa
Olaf, son of Elsa. Source: YouTube, Channel: Australian Reptile Park

In July 2022, the Australian Reptile Park was overjoyed to announce that Elsa, the viral koala, had delivered a healthy joey of her own. The world’s most famous koala now had a fluffy bundle of joy of her own.

The baby was named Olaf

Olaf peeks out
Olaf peeking out. Source: YouTube, Channel: Australian Reptile Park

Park authorities were ecstatic to see Elsa’s first joey emerge from her pouch. It was the first koala born in 2022’s koala breeding season. The baby was named Olaf.

Watch the video here

A delightful surprise

Elsa with Olaf and Regina
Elsa with Olaf and Regina. Elsa as a baby. Source: YouTube, Channel: Australian Reptile Park

In November 2023, much to the delight and surprise of zookeepers, Elsa emerged from her enclosure with not one but two joeys on her back. But the joey wasn’t her own. Elsa shared the enclosure with son Olaf, and another koala named Rosie, who also has a joey around the same age, named Regina. Elsa was babysitting both Olaf and Regina which was an incredibly rare development.

Watch video of Elsa babysitting here

Positive news after the Sydney flood

Elsa
Elsa babysitting. Source: YouTube, Channel: Australian Reptile Park

The birth of Elsa’s Joey was much-needed news, especially after Greater Sydney had experienced a flood disaster. Fortunately, the floods did not affect Elsa, Joey, and the other animals at the Australian Reptile Park.

The star attraction

Elsa and Olaf
A kiss for Olaf. Source: YouTube, Channel: Australian Reptile Park

Elsa, now a mommy, enjoys her days in one of the koala yards at the Australian Reptile Park. Visitors often spot her either napping or munching on fresh leaves. Now, guests can also see Elsa cuddling with her new joey. People worldwide come to meet Elsa in person and take photos with her, making her a beloved attraction at the park.

Raising Awareness for Koalas

Elsa and babies
Elsa chilling with Olaf and Regina. Source: YouTube, Channel: Australian Reptile Park

Elsa’s story has significantly raised awareness for koalas, a dangerous species. Estimates predict their potential extinction by 2050. Shute highlights Elsa’s role in inspiring global awareness and the need for koala conservation efforts.

Habitat and range

Koala Elsa on tree
Elsa with the kids on a tree. Source: YouTube, Channel: Australian Reptile Park

Koalas are native to Australia and are specifically found in the coastal regions of Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, and South Australia. They inhabit eucalyptus forests and woodlands. Koalas are arboreal, meaning they live in trees and rely on enough eucalyptus trees within their home range to provide food and shelter.

Social structure

Baby koalas
Elsa, a responsible mother. Source: YouTube, Channel: Australian Reptile Park

Koalas are generally solitary animals, each maintaining its home range. However, these ranges can overlap and may communicate through vocalizations, especially during the breeding season. Male koalas have a loud bellow that attracts females and deters other males. The social structure revolves around these overlapping territories and vocal communications.

Reproduction and lifespan

Elsa the Koala
Koalas love trees. Source: YouTube, Channel: Australian Reptile Park

Female koalas give birth to one joey at a time after a gestation period of about 35 days. The joey, blind and hairless at birth, crawls into its mother’s pouch, where it will stay for about six months. After leaving the pouch, it rides on its mother’s back and continues to nurse for several months. Koalas have a lifespan of around 10-12 years in the wild, though some can live longer in captivity.

Conservation efforts on a war footing

Olaf, baby koala
Olaf. Source: YouTube, Channel: Australian Reptile Park

Australia’s Greens are all set to introduce parliamentary legislation that will ban the destruction of koala habitat for urban development, mining, or agriculture on public or private land by 2025. Additionally, all koala habitats will be mapped before they can come into effect. Koala highways will be identified, rejuvenated, and expanded to protect koalas in protecting koalas in urban areas and crossing busy roads. The Greens are a confederation of green state and territory political parties and the third largest party in Australia.

The Park’s Conservation Commitment

Baby Elsa
Baby Elsa with her cuddly toy. Source: YouTube, Channel Australian Reptile Park

The Australian Reptile Park prides itself on its active role in wildlife conservation, mainly through its koala breeding program. Located on the Central Coast of New South Wales, it aims to boost koala populations and educate the public about protecting this endangered species.

The story of Elsa and her Joey underscores the importance of conservation efforts and the need to protect koalas from extinction.

WATCH THE VIDEO OF ELSA’S JOEY HERE

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