A rare white koala joey born at Bindi Irwin’s Australia Zoo needs a name, and the public is being asked to help.
The unbearably cute marsupial’s unusual colouring is not as a result of albinism but is due to a recessive gene inherited from her mother, Tia, who has had other pale coloured joeys in the past.
Dr Rosie Booth, Director of the Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital, said it was rarer to see a koala with light fur than it was to see one with albinism.
A rare white koala joey (pictured) has been born at Australia Zoo – and she needs a name
This koala joey is light due to a recessive gene inherited from her mother Tia (pictured)
‘In veterinary science it’s often referred to as the ‘silvering gene’ where animals are born with white or very pale fur and, just like baby teeth, they eventually shed their baby fur and the regular adult colouration comes through,’ Dr Booth said.
‘In the wild animal kingdom, it’s actually quite unfortunate to have unusually light colouration as it makes animals stand out from their camouflage risking being spotted by potential predators,’ she said.
‘So this little joey has hit the jackpot being born at Australia Zoo, where every single person adores animals and gives them such great care.’
Koalas are also known to vary in colour depending on where they are born, with those from southern Australia being darker and larger than those found in Queensland and New South Wales.
An Australia Zoo media spokesperson said told Daily Mail Australia the joey recently emerged from its mother’s pouch.
‘She could have been born in the last five to six months,’ the spokesperson said.
More than 1,000 people have liked the zoo’s Facebook post inviting the public to name the joey.
Suggestions so far have included Elsa, after the lead character in the Disney movie Frozen, and Eleebana, which means beautiful girl in an Australian Aboriginal language.
Australia Zoo posted a Facebook on Tuesday asking the public to suggest names for her
The koala joey may have been born for months but only emerged from the mother’s pouch