IF you thought only humans could adopt babies, you were wrong.
A koala at the Australian Reptile Park has adopted a koala joey shortly after giving birth to her own baby.
It’s part of the park’s koala breeding program, which saw another koala take on triplets last year.
Australian Reptile Park general manager Tim Faulkner said koalas didn’t give birth to twins, so in this situation, the mother koala, Maddy, has taken on the role of koala wet-nurse for two baby joeys.
“Maddy had one baby girl (Penny), and when the other koala joeys (Mikey the larger Joey) mothers milk dried up, it jumped across to Maddy who has welcomed the youngling with open arms,” Mr Faulkner said.
Guests to Australian Reptile Park can visit Maddy and her babies in the koala enclosure. She is often seen sleeping with babies cuddled in her arms or climbing the eucalyptus trees with both babies on her back. The park has six koala joeys around the same age after its most successful koala breeding season.
Mr Faulkner said both Mikey and Penny were at the weaning stage, which was a unique arrangement to koalas living in captivity.
"In the wild a joey, once weaned from its mum, couldn’t simply 'jump on another'. Nor would a female accepts another female's joey," he said.
Last year, the park’s other resident koala Jill, made headlines when she gave birth and adopted two other babies taking on triplets.