Saving Mini

Mini the koala. (Supplied/Zoos Victoria) 214205_01

The veterinary team at Werribee Open Range Zoo has saved the life of a tiny koala, whose mother was killed by a dog.

The koala joey – whom the zoo staff have named Mini – weighed just 400 grams when she was brought into the zoo by a registered wildlife carer, who rescued her after the attack.

On arrival at the zoo, six-month-old Mini’s condition was “incredibly precarious”.

At this age, koala joeys are dependent on their mother’s milk to survive.

Werribee Open Range Zoo veterinary nurse Jessie Rice provided around-the-clock care for Mini, using a substitute woollen pouch and humidicrib, a regular milk supplement and feeds.

Ms Rice said it was not long until she started to see Mini’s fighting spirit shine through.

“She’s been thriving and putting on weight and that’s the way that we want her to go,” Ms Rice said.

Mini has now returned to the wildlife carer who first rescued her, and will be hand-raised until she grows to three-to-four kilograms.

The zoo’s vets will continue to provide ongoing support until Mini is released back into the wild near where she was found, in south-west Victoria.

The state government recently announced $200,000 in grants to support registered wildlife carers.

Environment Minister Lily D’Ambrosio said: “Mini the koala’s story is yet another example of the fabulous job Victoria’s wildlife carers are doing every day – we’re proud to support this important work and help to make sure it continues.”

Zoos Victoria is also still accepting donations for its Bushfire Emergency Wildlife Fund.

Werribee Open Range Zoo is temporarily closed to visitors, but its animals can be seen on a live stream at