Koala “ambassadors” Edmund and Thackory are now on view the public in a special outdoor exhibit at the Santa Barbara Zoo, through May 1, 2019.
The two male koalas are at the Santa Barbara Zoo for a one-year visit to increase awareness of the challenges facing them and other native Australian species. The Zoo has committed $2,500 per month during the koalas’ residency to Australian koala habitat conservation as part of the San Diego Zoo’s Koala Loan Program.
Edmund, aged two and one-half, was born and resides at the Los Angeles Zoo. Thackory, who turns eight in June, was born and lives at the San Diego Zoo. In Santa Barbara, they are housed separately in adjacent outdoor covered enclosures separated by a wall, near the Zoo Train Station. Their diet comes from a eucalyptus plantation in Arizona, where it is grown specifically for koalas and used by other zoos across the country.
Though they may appear cuddly, these two koalas cannot be held by the public. Some koalas raised by humans, including those who are orphaned or have been rehabilitated, become accustomed to being held, especially in Australia. It is dangerous for anyone other than a trained zoo professional to attempt to hold either of these two.