Billabong Sanctuary's female koala joey has been named Maze, with the name given by 16-year-old teen Yasmin Carley from Gatton. PICTURE: MATT TAYLOR.
Billabong Sanctuary's female koala joey has been named Maze, with the name given by 16-year-old teen Yasmin Carley from Gatton. PICTURE: MATT TAYLOR.

Gatton teenager gives ‘amazing’ name to new baby koala

A GATTON teenager has come up with a clever idea to name one of the newest koalas at the Billabong Sanctuary in Townsville.

Yasmin Carley wanted to continue the family name and opted to call the baby koala Maze.

“The mum was named Puzzle, and I thought I cold recreate the family name, because the name was quite unique anyway,” she said.

It also included fusing the father’s name Maluka.

Yasmin, a Year 11 student at Lockyer District State High School, entered the competition to name one of two baby koalas during the term two school holidays.

Billabong Sanctuary's female koala joey has been named Maze, with the name given by 16-year-old teen Yasmin Carley from Gatton. PICTURE: MATT TAYLOR.
Billabong Sanctuary's female koala joey has been named Maze, with the name given by 16-year-old teen Yasmin Carley from Gatton. PICTURE: MATT TAYLOR.

Her family were travelling Queensland “exploring different places” when they stopped to fill in entry forms at the sanctuary.

“We filled out a little voting form not thinking we were going to win, because that sort of thing doesn’t happen very often,” Yasmin said.

“I wasn’t expecting it, so it was pretty exciting to find out.”

Yasmin was fortunate to travel back to Townsville last week to meet Maze and have a special cuddle.

Maze was 10-months-old and weighed 1.4 kilograms.

Yasmin Carley from Gatton, with Maze the baby koala. PICTURE: MATT TAYLOR.
Yasmin Carley from Gatton, with Maze the baby koala. PICTURE: MATT TAYLOR.

“She was pretty cute, she was very tiny and light and very fluffy,” Yasmin said.

Yasmin said she would love to return to Townsville and see Maze again, but it was a “fair drive”.

“It would be very nice to go and see her again and see her grow up, and that I named her,” Yasmin said.

With both a male and female koala to name, the sanctuary put out the competition to the wider community.

The male joey was named Buri a few weeks ago, an Indigenous word meaning fire, paying tribute to the devastating Australian bushfires earlier this year.

Billabong Sanctuary’s head of mammals, Tabatha Bennett said the competition promotes the Sanctuary’s breeding program and encourages community involvement.

“They’re a fantastic education tool, of course talking about habitat loss and land clearing, especially with bushfires … so it is important to keep our population numbers up especially in captivity.”

As an animal lover, Yasmin said she would like to work animals and the agricultural industry when she finishes school.

Next year, she will head to Rockhampton as an associate judge for Beef Week 2021.


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