A baby koala named Imogen stole the hearts of millions back in June when she poked her head out of her mom's pouch at the Symbio Wildlife Park in Sydney, Australia.
But days later, the mother of an even smaller koala, Harry, passed away from leukemia - leaving her tiny baby orphaned.
After consulting with experts, the Wildlife Park decided to hand-rear the older koala Joey Imogen and put Harry into Kelly’s pouch instead.
Symbio Wildlife Park curator Kylie Elliot and general manager Matt Radnidge put their lives on hold to hand rear Imogen - taking her everywhere with them and never leaving her alone.
They even snuggled in bed with her to replicate the closeness she would experience with her mom. And to help her feel like she was in a pouch, she spent her days snuggled inside Kylie’s jacket.
Elliot explained: “Hand raising Imogen has been the most challenging and rewarding thing we have ever achieved. It hasn’t been an easy journey raising a Joey with nocturnal habits and sharp claws - I definitely have a new respect for Koala mothers!"
She added: "Imogen has become such a huge part of our lives, and we are so blessed to have had the opportunity to play a part in her rearing."
Now 10 months old, Imogen is slowly learning to become more independent. She is climbing branches and she'll soon be ready to live at the Wildlife Park full time. When the time comes, she will slowly be re-introduced to the other koalas.
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