By CBSMiami.com Team

MIAMI (CBSMiami) — Zoo Miami is mourning the loss of ‘Hope’ the koala, who was found dead by zoo staff on Monday morning.

According to Zoo Miami Communications Director Ron Magill, the staff had been making regular checks on him following several days of lethargy and lack of appetite.  Over the last year, Magill said, Hope had some recurring issues with his gastrointestinal system that the Animal Health department was monitoring and treating.

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“Hope” at Zoo Miami on Jan. 8, 2020. (Courtesy: Zoo Miami/Ron Magill)

These issues are not uncommon in koalas and Hope did show some positive improvement with the treatments he was given, according to Magill. However, over the past week, his health seemed to rapidly decline.

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Hope underwent a thorough examination that included X-rays, blood collection, and various cultures but vets couldn’t find anything obvious that would explain the decline. It was hoped test results would uncover any underlying issues not immediately visible but Hope sadly died before they were able to receive and evaluate the results of those tests.

A thorough necropsy will be performed Monday to hopefully explain his death.

When Hope was born on May 30, 2019, he was only the third koala born in the zoo’s history and the first to be born at the zoo in over 28 years.  His birth brought international attention and joy from around the world.  He received his name because shortly after his birth, Australia was suffering from catastrophic fires and many felt that his birth was a symbol of “hope” that things would get better.  Zoo Miami sent thousands of dollars in Hope’s name to Australia to support the wildlife rescue efforts taking place in the midst of those fires.

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Hope’s 5 year-old mother, ‘Rinny,’ and 10 year old father, ‘Milo,’ continue to live at Zoo Miami and appear to be doing well.

CBSMiami.com Team