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LA Zoo’s koalas are ready to celebrate Wild Koala Day

<i>KCAL</i><br/>Often referred to as
Often referred to as "koala bears


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    LOS ANGELES (KCAL) — Often referred to as “koala bears,” koalas are actually not bears, but marsupials like kangaroos, opossums and wombats.

And their itty-bitty babies are called joeys, born into the world hairless and blind, the size of a jellybean. The Los Angeles Zoo shared these lesser-known koala facts as they are ready to celebrate Wild Koala Day, May 3.

Resident zoo koalas Maya and Burra are ready to show off their baby joey, still unnamed, to the public. The baby was born in August 2022 and spent the last several months in his mother’s pouch.

The koala babe is starting to explore the world around him, resting on his mother’s back and nibbling on eucalyptus leaves.

“I am also delighted for guests to come to the Zoo today on Wild Koala Day and beyond to learn more about this species and the threats to their survival in the wild,” said Beth Schaefer, Director of Animal Programs, Los Angeles Zoo.

Wild Koala Day is celebrated annually on May 3 to raise awareness about the threats koalas face in their wild habitat in Australia, which includes habitat destruction, fragmentation, bushfires, and disease, as well as drought-associated mortality in habitat fragments.

In 2019 and 2020, the catastrophic Australian bushfires burned more than 24 million hectares of land, destroying native koala habitat. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) lists koalas as vulnerable.

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