Jimmy the koala has all the staff at Potoroo Palace in a real tizz. He's just announced proudly, if rather casually, to keeper Jeannie that he is about to become a first-time father!
'Sapphire' was born on site nine years ago and was the sanctuary's very first home-grown koala. Now she is about to be a mum herself, after a lot of trial and error!
"We've all been cheering the couple on for quite some time now," head keeper Vicki McPaul delicately explained. "Finally we can announce that the couple's pairing has been successful!"
It will be another month or so before the little one's head will come peeping out of the pouch and it will certainly be another momentous occasion when it happens.
Koalas used to roam in their millions in south-east NSW. Their numbers have dwindled almost to zero in the past 200 years and their survival in the south-east forests of NSW is in the balance, remnant unique koalas remaining at high risk. The forests of Bermagui, Murrah, and Mumbulla were logged despite having known koala habitats.
Tanja State forest was about to be logged until a Forest Officer saw a koala and surveys found a small colony. Logging rules do not protect koalas: native forest logging prescriptions are ineffective and spell the death knell for these koalas plus other species inhabiting logging coups.
Both Sapphire and her new baby play a majorly important role in providing what has now become a dwindling gene pool.