This Koala Is On Pace To Be The Oldest Koala Ever – Photos From His 16th Birthday
A koala bear named Lawson is celebrating his 16th birthday at a zoo in Australia.
Lawson was born at the Australia Zoo in 2002 and has since lived an unusually long life, especially compared to koalas that live in the wild.
Amanda Cole was his first handler, who has been with him since he was first born.
“I started at the zoo when Lawson was just a newborn joey in his mum’s pouch, so I was able to watch that development with him and his mum and participate with his handling and training as he grew up,” Cole said.
“I’ve got a real soft spot for this guy.”
When he was younger, he was sociable and would often cuddle with tourists. By allowing visitors to interact with their koalas, the zoo hopes to spread awareness about the species. Now that Lawson is older and is in ‘retirement,’ he spends his time relaxing in his enclosure.
Cole has since moved up the ranks and is now the zoo’s curator and operations manager.
“We threw him a little bit of a party, offered him some really yummy leaf species to eat and just gave him a lot more attention just to celebrate the occasion,” said Cole.
“As a young koala Lawson was always really relaxed, but as he’s aged he’s become a little more set in his ways so he does prefer to have the standard routine day to day. Once he gets that leaf that’s the happiest he can be,” she continued.
Lawson has been an icon at the zoo and has closely bonded with his handlers over the years.
According to Guinness World Records, the oldest koala to ever live was named Sarah, who lived to age 23 and died in Queensland in 2001.
Lawson’s keepers hope that they will be celebrating Lawson’s birthday for years to come.