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Tiwi's baby ventures outside of pouch

2012/07/22 16:08:11

Taipei, July 22 (CNA) Taipei Zoo's newest joey, which is what a newborn koala is called, was recently seen exploring outside her mother's pouch for the first time, zoo staff members said Sunday.

The six-month old joey was spotted venturing outside of her mother's pouch July 12, which was her 179th day hidden from view in the pouch, zoo officials said.

The joey's mother, Tiwi, mated with Q-bi last December and was found to have conceived, with the newborn in her pouch in early January this year, marking the first time Tiwi had given birth, according to zoo staff members.

Koala first-borns have a mortality rate of up to 70 percent due to infection, accidents and the inexperience of the mothers, zoo staffers said, citing information provided by the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary in Australia where Tiwi was born.

A young koala drinks only mother's milk for the first six to seven months. In addition to milk, a five-month old joey begins consuming her mother's "pap," or excrement, in order to make the transition from milk to digesting eucalypt leaves, according to officials.

Further, a koala usually sleeps 18-20 hours per day, zoo staffers said, adding that it is important for koalas to have their sleep, noting that the public should not wake koalas while visiting the zoo.

Guide tours are provided at the zoo during the day and story times for children are held at 4 p.m. every Thursday and Saturday.

(By Liu Chien-bang and Ann Chen)