Rare white koala born at Australian zoo

The famed wildlife park on the Sunshine Coast has been in the midst of “joey season” for the past few months, with a number of new flurry arrivals finally emerging from mothers’ pouches.

But among them was something not often seen — an extremely pale youngster that added an extra element of surprise.

Dr. Rosie Booth, director of the Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital, explained it’s not a case of albinism, where color is absent from all physical characteristics like skin, fur and eyes.

Rather, the female joey’s white coloration is the result of a recessive gene likely inherited from her mom Tia, who has birthed other pale colored babies 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 coloration comes through,” Booth said.

Koalas are known to vary in coloration depending on their environment, with southern koalas being much darker and larger than those found in Queensland and New South Wales.

“In the wild animal kingdom, it’s actually quite unfortunate to have unusually light coloration as it makes animals stand out from their camouflage risking being spotted by potential predators,” Booth said.