Koala joey named in tribute to homeland

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The UK’s only koala joey has been named in tribute to its native homeland Australia.

The joey, born last June at Edinburgh Zoo, has been named Dameeli – an indigenous Australian word for affection.

Newborn koalas are the size of a jellybean and move straight into the mother’s pouch, where they stay for six months before growing big enough to move on to her back.

Dameeli was born on June 26 to first time mother Kalari and father Tanami.

Lorna Hughes, animal team leader at Edinburgh Zoo, said: “Dameeli is doing well and grows bigger and more confident every day. At eight months old, he has ventured out of mum Kalari’s pouch and will soon start exploring on his own.

Koala joey and mother
Dameeli has now ventured out of his mother’s pouch (RZSS/PA)

“It has been a hard few months for us as a charity, but the ongoing support from the public, members and patrons has been outstanding.

“We are happy to have begun welcoming visitors back and cannot wait until it is safe enough to open our indoor areas so guests can see our adorable new joey.

“In the meantime, the public can keep an eye on Dameeli’s dad, Tanami, on our website’s live koala cam.”

Edinburgh Zoo, owned by the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland, recently reopened to Edinburgh residents, with a host of added safety measures.

The koalas are not currently visible to the public as all indoor animal areas must remain closed, in line with Government guidance.

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