This Koala Joey Never Leaves His Mother's Side, Even During Life-Saving Surgery

by Kylin

The bond between mother and child is one of the strongest bonds there is. This stands true for most creatures in the animal kingdom, besides with humans.

Regardless of the species, Mothers will always be Mothers, devoted and caring for their offspring. In the same vein, most animals’ young are heavily dependent on their mothers for their survival while they learn and grow.

A shining example of such a bond came up in Australia, after a mother koala was hit by a car on the Warrego Highway near Coominya, while her 6-month old joey was in her pouch. Luckily for the pair, a group of volunteers were able to quickly rescue the injured koalas, they named the mother Lizzy, and her sweet baby boy Phantom.

Lizzy and Phantom were transferred to the Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital, which was founded by the famous Steve ’Crocodile Hunter’ Irwin and his wife Terri. Miraculously, Phantom managed to survive the accident unscathed.

Unfortunately, Lizzy was in critical condition, with facial injuries and a punctured lung. She needed surgery to save her life.

The veterinarian heading their care recognized that splitting up Lizzy and Phantom would not only make them anxious, but would be traumatic for both mother and son. They decided that it would be for the betterment of Lizzy’s recovery to keep them together during the surgery.

And so, they proceeded with surgery to repair Lizzy’s punctured lung, while Phantom, her itty-bitty 1 pound joey, clung to her the entire time.

Koalas are an iconic animal native to Australia.

They’re marsupials, mammals that have a pouch for development of their young, not “bears” as they’re commonly called. 

Koalas live in the eucalyptus forests of southeastern and eastern Australia. They rely on these eucalyptus trees for both food and shelter.

Koalas are an iconic animal native to Australia.
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Phantom has quite the concern for his Mom.

The word koala comes from the Aboriginal language Dharug word “gula” meaning “no water.” It was initially believed these animals were able to survive without needing to drink water, since they were rarely witnessed coming out of their eucalyptus trees.

Turns out, the leaves of the eucalyptus tree have a high water content, so the koala does not need to drink often. Aside from the high water content, eucalyptus is also toxic!

The koala’s digestive system works hard to digest the eucalyptus leaves. After breaking down the toxins, they’re left with limited nutrients, leaving them with very little energy.

Phantom has quite the concern for his Mom.
via: Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital
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The actual sweetest sleepy face

Because they get so little energy from their diet, koalas must limit their energy use. They have been known to sleep or rest up to 18 to 22 hours a day.

The actual sweetest sleepy face
via: Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital
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Phantom being the very best emotional support joey.

Koalas are mostly active at night and spend the majority of their waking hours eating. (Same though)

Phantom being the very best emotional support joey.
via: Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital

No bed like Mom

The 6-month-old baby kept firmly attached to his mother’s side for support even after surgery, including all the follow up treatments needed to ensure a full recovery.

No bed like Mom
via: Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital
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Phantom in his special pouch

"Phantom is with Lizzy during her procedures and check ups to ensure neither mum nor bub get stressed out," the hospital said. "Similarly, Phantom is in a 'pouch' during weighing to ensure he feels safe and protected while away from mum."

Phantom in his special pouch
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Their care led to a full recovery

"It's so rewarding to see patients like Lizzy getting better," vet nurse Jamie-Lynn Hevers added.

Their care led to a full recovery
via: Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital
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Lizzy gets to do the cuddling now.

Now that she's fully healed, Lizzy and Phantom were safely released back into nature.

Lizzy gets to do the cuddling now.
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Check out the videos below to see how endearing their bond is.

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Lizzy and Phantom managed to make a full recovery thanks to the team at the Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital.

Lizzy and Phantom were only just two of the thousands of patients seen at the hospital. The Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital has treated 10,000 koalas since opening its doors in 2004.

Don't forget to share this charming story with your friends and family.

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