A rare white koala has been born at Australia Zoo in Queensland – and the search is on for a perfect name.
“Welcome to the world little one… we love you ’cause you’re different,” Tourism Australia wrote on its Facebook page on Tuesday, calling for suggestions on naming her.
She is not albino. Keepers at the zoo say her fur is due to a recessive gene inherited from her mother Tia, who has given birth to other pale joeys – baby koalas – in the past.
“In veterinary science it’s often referred to as the ‘silvering gene’ where animals are born with white or very pale fur and, just like baby teeth, they eventually shed their baby fur and the regular adult colouration comes through,” said the zoo’s wildlife hospital director Rosie Booth.
Facebookers gushed over the “gorgeous white koala” and “precious darling”.
“I wish her a very long happy life filled with lots of love and all the eucalyptus leaves she wants,” wrote one.
So far, they have come up with suggestions including Snowflake, Pearl, Sugar, Lily, Snow White and Baringa, which means “dawn” or “light” in the aboriginal language, for a name.
One posted: “Daenerys…like from Game of Thrones. They have the same color hair and are both beautiful.”
Koalas have been under increasing threat across the Southern Hemisphere nation in recent decades due to bushfires, disease, dog attacks and loss of habitat.
Ms Booth said the joey had been born in the wild, she would have been more visible to predators.
She is one of 12 joeys born at the zoo this season.