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Raising Matilda

Saturday, January 31, 2009 11:52am
koala2.jpg

Hi, I’m Liza, one of the mammal keepers at Adelaide Zoo. Since December I’ve been hand raising our new baby koala, Matilda.

Her mum was hit by a car and had to be put down due to her bad injuries. Approximately 7 months old at the time, Matilda came to Adelaide Zoo  a healthy 512gm and has never shown any signs of trauma since I’ve had her (her weight has only gone up which is a good indicator).

I started feeding her 8ml of milk, 6 times a day (every 4 hours!) and did that for about a month. Just recently she’s cut down to 5 feeds, which is nice for me as now I only have to get up at 5am and 11pm is her last feed. Tomorrow I’ll be changing to 7am and last feed at 10pm.

She now gets 15ml of formula milk at each feed, with an additive (similar to colostrum) to help boost her immunity. I have to feed her gum leaves as well.

It’s great fun looking after Matilda, she’s a lot of fun to have even though I have to get up a lot for her. Looking after her is very much like looking after a baby! I mainly play with her at home, it’s our time together. She’s lazy, loving to sit on my lap and have her stomach scratched. About 8-10pm, that’s when she likes to run around the floor at home and up the branch.

She also likes to hang upside down mainly, that’s her trick at the moment, and seems to think she’s very clever doing this (she’s a bit of a show off too!)

The worst thing Matilda does at the moment is climb up my leg when I have shorts on - her nails are quite sharp! She likes to get up about 3am for a play, for about ½ she’ll cry if I don’t get her up. This week I haven’t heard her but it might be because I’m so tired!

Matilda’s never had any real trouble with her tummy - koalas are prone to get upset stomachs through change and stress to their environment, with their feces becoming runny and soft. Not many people are allowed to touch her yet as she’s still quite sensitive but she’s interested in people.

She’s slowly being introduced to other zookeepers. There was one day when her feces were soft and she was a bit flat. One of the other keepers had held her for the first time the day before so that could have been due to that, which shows just how sensitive they can be.

 

 

Comments

keep up the good work and remember the people of south australia and he people of the world are behind you good luck
Posted By: shane on Friday, February 06, 2009 11:09am
i'm learning about koalas at school so soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo CUTE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Posted By: Jess Stott on Wednesday, May 06, 2009 12:53pm

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