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Zoo Miami Koala Receives Exam

“Milo,” Zoo Miami’s 7 year old male Queensland Koala, went through a series of procedures on Wednesday as part of an overall health exam.  The exam was performed by Zoo Miami Associate Veterinarian, Dr. Gaby Flacke, assisted by Associate Veterinarians, Dr. Marisa Bezjian and Dr. Jimmy Johnson.  In addition to being part of a Zoo Miami’s general preventative health program, this exam was also being done in preparation for the introduction of Milo to “Rinny,” a 3 year old female Koala that arrived from the Riverbanks Zoo in South Carolina on September 21st.

As part of the general wellness exam, Milo had his blood and urine collected, X-Rays taken, and his eyes examined.  Milo also received a comprehensive CT scan that was performed by Dr. Xavier Meaux of Mobile Pet Imaging.  CT scans provide enhanced 3D images that reveal details not as easily seen on normal X-Rays.

Initial results of the procedures performed indicate that Milo is in excellent health and he can look forward to being introduced to Rinny in the next several weeks!  The hope is that they will get along and that Zoo Miami may be celebrating the birth of a koala in the not too distant future! 

Koalas are arguably the most iconic of Australia’s wildlife.  Found in the eucalyptus forests of Eastern Australia, these arboreal animals can consume close to 2 pounds of eucalyptus leaves a day.  They are very selective in eating only the most nutritious and tastiest leaves of certain trees.  When not eating, they can sleep for up to 18 hours a day!

Though they are often referred to as koala “bears,” they are actually marsupials and not related to bears at all!  A newborn koala is called a “joey” and it is born blind, hairless and the approximate size of a bumblebee.  As soon as it is born, it instinctively climbs into its mother’s pouch where it continues to develop for approximately 6 months before emerging as an adorable furry miniature version of its parents.

Koalas are threatened by development, drought, and fires which have resulted in the loss of close to 80% of their natural habitat.  In addition, they are the victims of dog attacks and being hit by cars when they come to the ground to get to other trees.

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