22 April 2024

Male Koala Born at Longleat to celebrate his first birthday

Monty, the koala, celebrates his first birthday at Longleat this Saturday.

He is the first male southern koala born at Longleat and he’s also the only one to have been born anywhere in Europe.

Delighted keepers plan to hold a special party for him at the weekend to celebrate his big day.

Monty is the second koala to have been born at Longleat following the birth of his half-sister Hazel in 2021.

“Reaching his first birthday is a huge milestone for Monty and we can’t wait to join in the celebrations at the weekend,” said Keeper Jon Ovens.

“It’s not easy to come up with a birthday cake or a tasty treat as their diet is entirely made up of eucalyptus leaves but we’ll be sure to spoil him along with his amazing mum Maisie,” he added.

Baby koalas, known as joeys, spend the first three months of life living inside their mothers’ pouches and even, at a year old, Monty still remains largely dependent on mum Maisie.

At Longleat the koalas’ purpose-built enclosure includes a natural stream, eucalyptus trees, climbing poles, a mix of indoor and outdoor habitats, viewing areas, and a medical care unit.

A plantation of eucalyptus trees has also been established on the estate to help provide the koalas with a fresh supply of leaves, the only thing the marsupials will eat.

Longleat is the only zoological collection in Europe to look after southern koalas and is part of a long-term partnership with the South Australia Government, Koala Life and Cleland Wildlife Park, in the Adelaide Hills, to support research and conservation programmes for wild koalas.

In the aftermath of the devastating bushfires in 2019, keepers from Koala Creek travelled out to South Australia to help with the recovery programme and earlier this year they returned to see how the recovery programme is progressing and to visit some of the conservation projects Longleat is supporting.

To date, Longleat, with the help of generous visitors, has donated nearly  £120,000 to help fund work being undertaken by a number of wildlife rescue groups including Koala Life, SAVEM (South Australian Veterinary Emergency Management) and Minton Farm Rescue.

Written by
Andy Munns
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Written by Andy Munns