Sunday, August 22, 2010

Close call for koala

This story was in the weird news this past week and I was going to add it to my next set of follow-ups, but it couldn't wait. A man left Portland, Victoria, Australia, in his Ford Falcon. He was traveling along the Princes Highway at about 50mph when he struck a fully grown male koala near Narrawong. When the driver stopped, he found that the animal wedged in his grill was very much alive. He called in advance and drove very slowly the 9 miles to an emergency veterinarian, where the koala was freed with bolt cutters. Although it survived without a scratch, it was held and observed for the rest of the day before being released back into its prior habitat. "It looked quite surprised - if koalas can look surprised,'' said Dr. Lisia Sturm.

Koalas aren't on exhibit at many zoos, because they are such fussy eaters and because they are difficult to breed in captivity. I have not seen one in person, but they happily digest their eucalyptus in Cleveland, Ohio; Houston, Texas; Columbia, South Carolina; and San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Diego, California.

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