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Koalas Come To Santa Barbara Zoo

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Photo by Santa Barbara Zoo
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Two Koalas, Edmund and Thackory, are now at the Santa Barbara Zoo

You can now see koalas at the Santa Barbara Zoo.

Two koalas – Two-year-old Edmund and six-year-old Thackory – are on loan from the Los Angeles and San Diego zoos for a one-year stay. They're on view in a special outdoor exhibit near the Zoo Train station, where they're housed in separate adjacent enclosures.  Their food comes from a eucalyptus plantation in Arizona.

"They actually are a marsupial.  That's an animal that has a pouch.  Their young are actually raised in a pouch.  They predominantly survive on eucalyptus.  Other than gliders, they are the only species in the world that actually can survive on eucalyptus plants.  They are inactive a large part of the day.  They do spend a lot of time sleeping or resting in trees and only a few hours eating," said Dr. Julie Barnes, who is the Director of Animal Care and Health at the Santa Barbara Zoo.

She said the hope is that the pair raises awareness about the struggles koalas and other wildlife face in Australia with habitat destruction, prolonged drought, and predation by feral cats and dogs.