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Blue eyed boy causes a stir at Dreamworld; GOLD COAST.

HE may have been christened "Logan", but as soon as Dreamworld's newest koala emerged from his mum's pouch and took a first glimpse of the world, he was dubbed "Frankie" for his extraordinary blue eyes. Dreamworld, which is located on the Gold Coast in Southern Queensland has 57 koalas in their family but this is the first one ever to be born with blue eyes.

"He's a little puff of fur with intense blue eyes," said Dreamworld's Life Sciences Supervisor, Michelle Barnes.

"I have worked with koalas for 14 years and have never seen a blue eyed one before."

Australian Koala Foundation's (AKF) CEO, Deborah Tabart was also at a loss to explain the unusual eye colouring.

"In the 20 year history of the AKF, this is the first we have heard of a blue-eyed koala in captivity.

It certainly appears to be a once in a lifetime event."

Ms Barnes said that medically speaking there is nothing wrong with Frankie apart from reduced pigmentation.

"We don't really know if the eye colour is a result of genetics or a random event. Why was Logan's eye colouring only recently noticed?

When born, Koalas are around 12-15mm long. At six months of age and around 12 cm, they begin to emerge from their mother's pouch and open their eyes.

Like human babies, many koalas have a blue tinge to their eyes, which quickly recedes. Frank's colouring was stronger and he was taken to a veterinary eye specialist for appropriate testing in December.

Said Ms Barnes, "His vision is perfect and that and his health is what is most important to us."

About the Koala

Koalas are native to Australia and found in the wild in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia.

For more information about Dreamworld please visit www.dreamworld.com.au or
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Geographic Code:8AUST
Date:Jan 30, 2008
Words:304
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