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Koala (Phascolarctos cinereus) Fact Sheet: Managed Care

History in Manged Care

San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance

  • Most successful koala breeding and rearing program outside of Australia (Giezendanner 2011)
  • Leadership role in developing AZA's Koala Species Survival Plan, which manages the North American population (Chris Hamlin and Jennifer Tobey, personal communication, 2021)
  • 1925: First pair of koalas at the Zoo (Crandall 1964)
    • Snugglepot and Cuddlepie sent as gifts from children of Sydney to children of San Diego (Jackson 2003) (Irvine 2011)
  • 1960: First koala born at the zoo from female that arrived with a pouch young (Crandall 1964)
  • 1976 to 2002: More than 100 koalas born
  • 2011: 25 koalas on site at San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance (Giezendanner 2011)
  • 1925 to 2011: San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance has raised, cared for, and managed 315 koalas born from initial animal loans from Australia (Giezendanner 2011)
    • Through the Zoo's Conservation and Education Loan program koalas are loaned to zoos all over the world to use in educational and conservation breeding programs
  • Euclyptus trees growing in San Diego are one reason for the success of the Zoo's koala care
    • 70 to 100 Eucalyptus species are growing in the wild in California, dating back to imported seeds planted in mid 1800s (Jackson 2003)
    • 35 species of Eucalyptus are grown by the Zoo
    • At least 4 species are offered to koalas every day
  • Zoo is partnered with the Australian Koala Foundation to produce Koala Habitat Atlas


Breeding in zoos

  • Understanding diet preference a great challenge
  • To successfully maintain koalas, zoos need to establish plantation-grown Eucalyptustrees
    • For each koala, 500-1,000 trees of 5 or 6 species required
    • A zoo needs to plant trees 4-6 yrs. ahead of acquiring koalas
  • Lone Pine Sanctuary outside Brisbane, Australia is world's first and largest koala sanctuary (Jackson 2003)

Live Camera Feeds

Managed Care

a koala in a tree

Koala in Great Otway National Park, Victoria, Australia

Image credit: © DAVID ILIFF. License: CC-BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Page Citations

Crandall (1964)
Doyle et al. (2002)
Giezendanner (2011)
Irvine (2011)
Jackson (2003)
Jackson et al. (date unknown)
Irvine (2011)
Lee & Martin (1988)

SDZWA Library Links