Courtesy of Awaji Farm Park England Hill / YouTube
A female koala bear living in a Japanese zoo earned her moment in the spotlight with an epic birthday milestone. Midori the koala, who turned 24 years old in February, is now the Guinness World Record holder of the title of "world's oldest koala living in captivity."
Turning 24 is no small feat for a koala. The Australia Department of Environment and Natural Resources says the average age for a female koala in captivity is only 12-15 years! The lifespan of these adorable leaf-eaters in the wild is even less—roughly 10-15 years. To make the number even more relatable, if converted to human years, Midori would be over 100 years old. The previous record of World's Oldest Koala was held by an Australian koala named Sarah, who passed away in 2001 at 23 years old.
Midori makes her home at the Awaji Farm Park England Hill (a nature-themed zoo in the central part of Awaji Island, Japan). The park says Midori is in good health and continues to climb trees and entertain guests even in her advanced years.
The Japan Times says the elderly koala came to the park in March 2003 as part of a sister city relationship. More than 18 years later, Midori continues to bring great pride to the zoo. After her latest birthday on February 1, 2021, the zoo submitted her age to the Guinness World Records for consideration as the oldest living koala.
The Awaji park's director calls Midori's new title "a bright spot amid all the dark news," and plans to celebrate the koala's achievement by holding a ceremony on Sunday, March 14 to commemorate Midori's certification as the world's oldest koala.