Australian zoo asks for help naming rare white koala The rare white koala joey and her mom, Tia. (Tourism Australia)
Australian zoo asks for help naming rare white koala
Lexile

The Australia Zoo in Queensland has welcomed 12 baby koalas this breeding season. The little joeys spent several months inside their mothers’ pouches. Now they are starting to make their first public appearances. This is according to Australia's ABC News.

One of the new babies surprised zoo officials when she emerged from the pouch with snowy, white fur. That is a rarity for the fluffy marsupials. Now, the zoo is asking the public to help name this very special koala. 

The female joey is not an albino. Albino koalas sport pink eyes and noses. But this pale fuzzball has dark features. The joey likely inherited a maternal recessive gene that causes light-colored fur. That's according to the BBC. Her mother, Tia, has previously given birth to other babies covered with pale-colored fuzz. But none have been as white as the new joey. That's according to Jessica Wilkinson on the official Australia tourism website.

"In veterinary science it is often referred to as the 'silvering gene' where animals are born with white or very pale fur,” says Rosie Booth, the zoo's wildlife hospital director, according to the BBC. “Just like baby teeth, they eventually shed their baby fur and the regular adult coloration comes through.”

Temporary though it may be, white fur is a detriment to koalas in the wild, since pearly down makes the critters more visible to predators. But this isn't a cause for concern for the new joey. She is currently snuggled up with her mother in the “Mum and Bubs” branch of the Australia Zoo.

The little one does not have a name yet, so the zoo is looking to the public for help. A call for names on the zoo’s Facebook page has elicited more than 1,000 responses, with commenters suggesting monikers like Tofu, Pearl, Daenerys (Mother of Dragons in the Game of Thrones), and Elsa (the princess turned queen in Frozen).

The new joey can be viewed with other baby koalas and their mothers in a leafy enclosure. Visitors won’t be able to get close to the babies, but Wilkinson of Tourism Australia notes that “encounters are available at Australia Zoo with mature koalas where you can cuddle or pat them.”

Koala cuddles? Be right back, just booking a flight to Australia.

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CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
Why would a zoo want help naming an animal?
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COMMENTS (8)
  • Alip-dav1
    9/18/2017 - 08:57 a.m.

    In this article, an Australian zoo asks help from the public. This zoo asks people to come up with a name for a new rare baby kola. This kola has snowy white fur, and dark eyes. They ask people to give them ideas for names on FaceBook. The zoo has received over 1,000 name ideas, including, Tofu, Pearl, Daenerys, and Elsa.

  • Mackenzieri-dav
    9/18/2017 - 09:00 a.m.

    In the article, "Australian zoo asks for help naming rare white Koala" A koala with snowy white fur was born at the Queensland Zoo. It is very uncommon to have white fur in the wild because it is easier for predators to spot them. This zoo has been asking the public to name this white furry Koala.Over thousands of response for the koalas names have been commented on the Zoos website. This is such a fun way to participate in helping out the Australian zoo.

  • Audreyc-dav
    9/18/2017 - 01:47 p.m.

    An Australian Zoo in Queensland has welcome 12 baby koalas this breeding season and one of them is very special. The koala is a rare white color. They are asking for help to name her. This koala is not albino, an albino would have pink eyes and nose. This baby will not be white it's whole life. Like teeth as babies they will lose their hair and it will become darker.This joey can be viewed with other baby koalas and their mothers in a leafy enclosure. Visitors won’t be able to get close to the babies, but Wilkinson of Tourism Australia notes that “encounters are available at Australia Zoo with mature koalas where you can cuddle or pat them.” What do you this baby white koala should be named?

  • ethanm-orv
    9/18/2017 - 02:59 p.m.

    I think that our class should help name the Kaola

  • Lucy-buc
    9/19/2017 - 10:06 a.m.

    I learned that a koala mother had a baby and the baby koala is wight and that it can be bad for koalas to be wight because it makes them more visible to pretors. Luckily she is in a zoo instead of the wild and the pretors can't get to her thay are still looking for names for her and so far they have gotten 1,000 names just on Facebook!

  • EllaK-erl
    9/19/2017 - 03:20 p.m.

    i want to name one antilop

  • karlised-orv
    10/03/2017 - 06:17 p.m.

    Maybe they thought that asking for names for the baby koala that it would bring awareness to people that these animals might be endangered because they are not that hard to spot in the wild because of there fur.

  • scox-wim
    10/27/2017 - 01:14 p.m.

    This made my day.I feel like the kola should be named snowy or pearl.

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