A koala with strikingly beautiful, differently coloured eyes that was rescued by Steve Irwin's zoo has been released back into the wild after two months of rehabilitation.
Bowie was hit by a car in Queensland in north-eastern Australia in July and quickly gained worldwide attention when Australia Zoo released images of her eyes - one blue and one brown, a condition known as heterochromia.
Bowie escaped serious injury in the crash but was found to have a nasty case of chlamydia, a surprisingly common condition for koalas. After a quick recovery, Australia Zoo released her back into the wild this week.
The zoo said Bowie was a little timid at first, but swiftly climbed a tree to check out her new surroundings.
“It only took one look at Bowie to realise how special she is; what’s even more special though is the fact that she gets to go back out into the wild a healthy koala who can contribute to the declining south east Queensland koala population,” Richard Jackson from the Australia Zoo's rescue unit said.
The zoo’s vet, Dr Sharon Griffiths, said Bowie was "extremely lucky" to avoid a more serious injury.
“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,” Griffiths, said.
“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.”
At any one time, the zoo is caring for around 70 to 80 koalas, each costing up to $5000 to feed and house. You can learn more or donate at www.WildlifeWarriors.org.au.