SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A koala joey born last fall at the San Diego Zoo has emerged from her mother's pouch and can be seen by visitors at the Australian Outback exhibit, theme park officials announced Friday.
The joey was born in November and kept inside the pouch until the recent emergence. Since coming out, she's clung to the back of her mother, Cambee, and will travel that way for the next few months, according to the zoo.
"It is always fun when we get to work with koala joeys and watch their personalities develop," said zoo keeper Lacy Pearson. "At this age, she has not shown us her personality yet, but she is doing great, and has already started to eat eucalyptus leaves."
The zoo said it has the largest breeding colony of Queensland koalas and the most successful koala breeding program outside of Australia.
Researchers study koala populations -- both at the zoo and in the wild -- to better understand the species' ecology, mating behaviors and health. The information gleaned from their work will help develop conservation strategies for koalas, zoo officials said.
The species is not considered to be threatened, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources.