It's always a good day at a zoo when staff get to save the life of a beautiful animal, but the reward was doubly great for the Australia Zoo Rescue Unit picked up an incredibly rare koala recently; a female with one dark brown eye, and another vivid electric blue eye.
The young female was found on the side of the road at Brendale, near Brisbane, last month. Staff at the rescue unit believe she was hit by a car, left limping after bruising to her left hind leg. Experts said she escaped major injury, but it was another condition which left them stunned; she has heterochromia, an extremely rare phenomenon where the eyes of an animal are two different colours.
Staff nicknamed her Bowie, after late music icon David Bowie*.
"Bowie's heterochromia doesn't affect how she sees the world around her, in fact her eyesight is great, exactly what we like to see in a young koala," said treating vet Dr Sharon Griffiths, at the Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital.
"Apart from being extremely lucky in avoiding injury on the road, she's also incredibly unique as heterochromia isn't a common occurrence in koalas; it's more often found in domestic mammal species such as dogs and cats."
Bowie was admitted to the hospital due to having contracted mild cystitis. The hospital says they aim to release her into the wild again.
Australia Zoo said it can cost up to $5000 to treat a koala, "because they're so complex!" If you would like to donate to help look after patients like Bowie at the Wildlife hospital, Wildlife Warriors is the charity organisation that funds it all. Find more information about them at their website www.wildlifewarriors.org.au
* - we should point out that David Bowie, despite popular myth, did not have heterochromia. Despite Bowie appearing to have different coloured eyes, he did not -- his distinctive appearance was the result of a permanently dilated pupil, a condition known as anisocoria, which made one eye appear dark and the other appear lighter. For more info, click here.