A baby koala has been named after a sugar baby who died after eating an all-natural treat from a roadside convenience store.
The baby’s name is Lil B, and the Australian National University has named her after the popular character Lil Busters.
Professor Sally Aitken from the Australian Zoo said Lil B’s story was inspirational.
“It’s such a rare thing, for a young koala to be named after someone who has died,” she said.
“That’s really powerful for a koala.”
Lil B was the only koala who was given a name after she died.
“And the fact that she lived and died and was raised in the wild means she had the potential to be a very important figure in koala conservation and breeding.”
Lil’s storyThe young koalas were born in the late 1800s and bred in captivity until they were released into a roadside bush camp near Port Lincoln in Western Australia.
A few years later, Lil B was released into the wild.
Professor Aitok said the animals had become so accustomed to a sugar treat that they started to feed themselves.
“They started to eat the fruit, which is the main ingredient in the sugar baby,” she explained.
“But they were still able to survive on it because the fruit is a nutritious nutrient.”
Lils appetite for the sugar grew and eventually she became so fed she was able to feed on a large variety of fruit.
“So that’s why we’re talking about Lil B now,” she added.
Professor Alyse Tapper, a zoologist at the University of Queensland, said the koala was just as special to her as the sugar.
“The sugar baby is still in the care of the Zoo and Lil B is still a part of their breeding program,” she told ABC News.
“There are other koaluses that have survived in captivity for thousands of years.”
Professor Tapper said it was hard to imagine the sweetness of a sugar-filled treat.
“We’re not sure why they would be so good at it,” she continued.
“A lot of it’s in the nature of the fruit and the sweetness.”
Professor Aidok said it would be hard to find a sugarbaby today who wasn’t familiar with the treat.
Professor Taker said the sweet and nutritious treat would make a perfect addition to the zoo’s collection of rare koala specimens.
“If you look at Lil Bs behaviour in captivity, you’ll notice she’s very affectionate and very curious about the sweet stuff,” she laughed.
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