The UK’s only koala joey born at the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland’s Edinburgh Zoo has been named Dameeli in tribute to the species’ native home of Australia. 

One of the wildlife conservation charity’s patrons chose the name, which means ‘affection’, for the youngster who was born in June 2020. 

Newborn koalas are the size of a jellybean and move straight into the mother's pouch where they stay for six months before growing big enough to move onto their mum’s back.  

Lorna Hughes, animal team leader at Edinburgh Zoo, said, “Dameeli is doing well and grows bigger and more confident every day. At eight months old, he has ventured out of mum Kalari’s pouch and will soon start exploring on his own. 

“We wanted to give him a name which would pay tribute to the koala's native home, and sent a list of suggestions to one of our amazing patrons who whittled it down to Dameeli.  

“It has been a hard few months for us as a charity, but the ongoing support from the public, members and patrons has been outstanding.  

“We are happy to have begun welcoming visitors back and cannot wait until it is safe enough to open our indoor areas so guests can see our adorable new joey. In the meantime, the public can keep an eye on Dameeli’s dad, Tanami, on our website’s live koala cam.” 

Edinburgh Zoo recently reopened to City of Edinburgh residents, with a host of added safety measures. Visitors must pre-book zoo tickets before their visit 


Becoming a patron  

RZSS patrons get exclusive access to unforgettable wildlife experiences, including: 

  • Exclusive events and behind the scenes tours 
  • Visits to conservation projects in the wild 
  • Unlimited access for you and your family to Edinburgh Zoo and Highland Wildlife Park 
  • Personal reports and an individual contact to help you learn more about the projects you care about 

You can become a Patron of RZSS at any time and we invite you to choose the amount you wish to donate, from £500 a year. To join or for more information please email 

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