Almost too cute to bear
November 12, 2015 7:37 AM   Subscribe

Koala bear Imogen was born at Australia's Symbio Wildlife Park in November. Soon after, another koala in the park had a baby but, sadly, mom died a few days later leaving the new joey orphaned and in danger. Zookeepers Matt and Kylie decided to hand-rear Imogen because she was stronger and older, freeing Imogen's mother to raise the motherless joey. The plan went well and Imogen turns one year old this weekend. She's had an adventurous young life that Matt and Kylie thoughtfully documented along the way.

* A few days old, popping in and out of momma's pouch to check out the world.
* Cuddling up with mom, who looks sleep-deprived.
* Imogen really likes to snuggle her teddy bear.
* Last month she moved into new digs in the sanctuary and made friends. (Spoiler 1: she took teddy along for the tour).
* Matt and Kylie put together a home movie showing what it's like to raise a baby joey. (Spoiler 2: Kylie carried Imogen around in a pouch inside her jacket.)

By the way, the orphaned joey being raised by Imogen's mother is doing just fine.

Happy birthday, Imogen!
posted by _Mona_ (24 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
 
If Imogen was born in June, how come her birthday is this weekend?
posted by Gelatin at 7:42 AM on November 12, 2015


Today I Learned: Baby koalas are called joeys, not cubs, like I thought. All baby marsupials are called joeys. The more you know!
posted by sidereal at 7:48 AM on November 12, 2015 [5 favorites]


Huh.... well, sleep-deprived me didn't catch that. Checking now (while feeling like the ultimate dumbass).
posted by _Mona_ at 7:49 AM on November 12, 2015


It's Koala Years
posted by sidereal at 7:52 AM on November 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


Okay, I didn't imagine this: Imogen's first birthday.

The wording of a post on the sanctuary's website tripped me up:

"In June this year, Imogen the Koala Joey and her mother Kelly, from Symbio Wildlife Park made worldwide headlines when a video of Imogen’s first journeys out of her mother’s pouch was captured by zoo staff and posted online by Tourism Australia."

So, yes, Imogen was born in November but the video wasn't posted til June. Sorry for the confusion. Maybe the mods could change "June" --> "November" for me?
posted by _Mona_ at 7:56 AM on November 12, 2015


Can't say I'm bothered about horological accuracy in a post about a baby koala. So cute!
posted by asperity at 7:58 AM on November 12, 2015


I wondered if it had to do with the fact that koalas are marsupials (that is, she may have been born in June and emerged from the pouch in November, or somesuch).
posted by Gelatin at 7:58 AM on November 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


Can't say I'm bothered about horological accuracy in a post about a baby koala.

But what about astrological accuracy? We need to know if Imogen is a Gemini or a Scorpio!

Not really; I don't subscribe to astrology.
posted by Gelatin at 8:00 AM on November 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


Koalas are insanely cute, but for some reason I found them less compelling once I learned how amazingly bone-stupid they are.
The koala has one of the smallest brains in proportion to body weight of any mammal, being 60% smaller than that of a typical diprotodont, weighing only 19.2 g. The brain's surface is fairly smooth, typical for a "primitive" animal. It occupies only 61% of the cranial cavity and is pressed against the inside surface by cerebrospinal fluid. The function of this relatively large amount of fluid is not known, although one possibility is that it acts as a shock absorber, cushioning the brain if the animal falls from a tree. The koala's small brain size may be an adaptation to the energy restrictions imposed by its diet, which is insufficient to sustain a larger brain. Because of its small brain, the koala has a limited ability to perform complex, unfamiliar behaviours. For example, when presented with plucked leaves on a flat surface, the animal cannot adapt to the change in its normal feeding routine and will not eat the leaves.
Emphasis added. Apparently, eucalyptus leaves are a pretty shitty food source, but it's damn near all they eat, so there are all sorts of weird adaptations going on to make it work. The more i learn about koalas, the more I am reminded of the oft-repeated line about the Porsche 911, which has its share of goofy design choices including but not limited to placing the center of gravity behind the rear axel: "it's a bad idea, executed very, very well."
posted by uberchet at 8:37 AM on November 12, 2015 [5 favorites]


Fact: koalas are not bears, but being marsupials, they are more closely related to kangaroos and wombats.

Today I learned: Giant pandas, on the other hand, are bears, and the giant panda and red panda are only distantly related.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:04 AM on November 12, 2015 [5 favorites]


Put a red panda between a raccoon and a giant panda and it kind of looks like the stages one would go through to morph into the other.
posted by VTX at 9:53 AM on November 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


Finding out that koalas are stupid just makes me like them more. Also, that kind of takes the misconception people have that evolution is always "progress" toward more complex and "advanced" animals, and pokes it with a stick.

Bad ideas executed very, very well - I mean, isn't there something endearing about that? See also: pandas.
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 10:34 AM on November 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


Almost too cute to bear . . .
They're not bears.

Koala bear Imogen . . .
They're not bears.

Baby koalas are called joeys, not cubs . . .
Because they're not bears.

Fact: koalas are not bears, but being marsupials, they are more closely related to kangaroos and wombats.
Because they're n -- uh, right. Yes.

red panda are only . . .
Weasels.

Giant pandas, on the other hand, are bears . . .
WHAT?! Hmm . . .
The giant panda genome was sequenced in 2009 . . . For many decades, the precise taxonomic classification of the giant panda was under debate . . . However, molecular studies suggest the giant panda is a true bear . . .
Well, recalculate my airflow and call me a bumblebee!
 
posted by Herodios at 10:35 AM on November 12, 2015 [3 favorites]


Mod note: Changed June to November in the post
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 10:44 AM on November 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


The more i learn about koalas, the more I am reminded of the oft-repeated line about the Porsche 911, which has its share of goofy design choices including but not limited to placing the center of gravity behind the rear axel: "it's a bad idea, executed very, very well."

"Bad ideas, executed very, very well™" . . .

sounds like an only partly ironic corporate slogo, like "We create the need, then fill it".

Even speaking as a long-time fan, and given their current troubles, it's a timely and appropriate one for the parent corporation that brought you 911.
 
posted by Herodios at 10:47 AM on November 12, 2015


That is, "the parent corporation that brought you THE (Porsche model) 911."
 
posted by Herodios at 10:55 AM on November 12, 2015 [2 favorites]


Got it. I got it. They're not bears.
posted by _Mona_ at 11:00 AM on November 12, 2015 [4 favorites]


But Drop Bears are bears, rite?
posted by sidereal at 11:49 AM on November 12, 2015 [2 favorites]


But Drop Bears are bears, rite?

Due to their diet, ordinary Koalas would be Cough Drop Bears (if they were bears).


"I hate Quantas"
posted by Herodios at 1:02 PM on November 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


_Mona_ this is a good FPP and the links are good and you should feel good.

Now, Teddy Bears are bears, I am certain.
posted by sidereal at 1:35 PM on November 12, 2015 [3 favorites]


Please note:

Koalas are maintained, bred and reared exclusively to scratch and/or wee on Australian politicians, foreign dignitaries and/or members of the British Royal Family who are too stupid to pick them up for a cutesy photo opportunity.
posted by chris88 at 2:06 PM on November 12, 2015 [2 favorites]


popping in and out of momma's pouch

We should all be so lucky.
posted by cynical pinnacle at 3:23 PM on November 12, 2015


Koalas are maintained, bred and reared exclusively...

I thought we kept them for the lovely noises they make.
posted by pompomtom at 3:52 PM on November 12, 2015


koalas are not bears

In the immortal words of Shakespeare: "A koala by any other name looks just as squee!"
posted by cynical pinnacle at 6:29 AM on November 13, 2015


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