The koala exhibit at the zoo consisted of 6 short eucalyptus trees in cells traversed by a walking bridge. As we approached, we noticed the furry grey balls in the trees were not moving...they were ALL asleep. My son looked dejected, "Oh no," he exclaimed, "We came at their nap time!" Realizing that koalas, unlike Pre-Kindergartners, cannot have organized nap time, I began to do some reading. As it turns out, it is quite likely that all young visitors to the exhibit have a similar feeling of disappointment, as the koala sleeps 20 of the 24 hours in a day!!! All those photos we see of koalas regarding the cameraman and looking cuter than Paris Hilton mugging in her all-time cutest pre-adolescent frock...the photographer waited a LOOOONNNGGG time for those shots. Here is what the koala usually looks like:
Lucky for us, I managed to capture one lazy koala waking briefly to sluggishly stuff his mouth with a piece of apparently unexciting eucalyptus...here he is:
Now we know why there is no "Koala-Cam" at the Zoo.
Anyhow, my son was really wanting to bring home a koala. Of course, he wanted a real live koala (which, in all honesty, cannot be much more work than a stuffed on sitting on a shelf, though not strictly allowable)...but I at last convinced him a stuffed one would do. [As a child remember having a koala made from REAL koala fur that someone must have sent me from their travels...eeeeyuuuwwwww!] I gathered up some leftover "polar morn" malabrigo and knit this darling stand-in. The pattern is Felted Koala, by Bev Galeskas for Fiber Trends. He's every bit as cute as the real thing...AND he has his eyes open.NOTE: The San Diego Zoo follows modern rules for humane animal containment, maximizing open air exhibits and working to ensure close simulation of each animal's natural environment. They also employ the best animal and human vets/doctors in their many conservation programs. They are currently banking frozen embryos of every animal on our planet to ensure the preservation of genetic diversity. They fund rescue organizations to rescue the Pandas (particularly the panda research station which was badly damaged by the earthquake), Polar Bears (which are expected to be extinct within our lifetime barring heroic efforts made by organizations such as the SDZ), and the Koala habitat protection program (now especially important in the wake of the fires in Australia). If you are interested in donating to the zoo's important work...by supporting a project, a zoo baby, or adopting an animal...click HERE.