Depressed koala from Pinjarra cured with hugs

Ashley (teddy) and Ashton (5). Pics: Jon Hewson.
Ashley (teddy) and Ashton (5). Pics: Jon Hewson.

A DEPRESSED koala from Pinjarra became happier after zookeepers gave him a teddy bear to carry around.

Ashton, the five-year-old koala, was born at Caversham and moved to Pinjarra Zoo two-and-a-half years ago.

During that time, he lived close to another koala named Bluey.

While the pair did not share an enclosure, they became accustomed to each other through vocalisations and scent.

“Rather sadly, Bluey passed away from renal failure,” zookeeper Bronte Hodgson said.

“After Bluey passed, Ashton became lethargic and wouldn’t eat.”

Bronte came to believe that Ashton was depressed as he could no longer hear Bluey.

Unfortunately for Ashton, captive koalas are hard to come by and the zoo couldn’t replace his friend.

So Bronte came up with the idea to give Ashton a koala teddy bear they named Ashley.

“Ashley stays in the enclosure with Ashton and he will cuddle her,” Bronte said.

“Sometimes he drops her and we have to pick her up because he doesn’t like to come down.

“We have had to take him off Ashton to wash her or patch holes.”

Bronte said Ashton is a popular little koala and describes his personality as “sooky”.

“Which is unusual for males,” Bronte said.

Ashton takes part in animal encounters at Peel Zoo and enjoys a back scratch.