Cleveland Metroparks Zoo said goodbye to two of its koala joeys this weekend. Kookoora and Wundurra were sent to the San Diego Zoo as part of the Zoo's breeding agreement with the West Coast institution.
An animal care manager and an animal keeper from the Zoo accompanied the two young male marsupials on their plane trip.
Four koalas remain in the Zoo's Australian Adventure: male Bulkee, the father of both Kookoora and Wundurra, female Midgee, mother of Wundurra, female Colliet, mother of Kookoora, and Nyoonbi, Colliet's 8-month old male joey.
The Zoo has exhibited koalas since Australian Adventure opened in 2000 and has had 15 joeys born since then.
�We are the second most successful breeding facility of koalas in the United States, behind the San Diego Zoo,� said Zoo General Curator Geoff Hall.
Not many U.S. zoos exhibit koalas, primarily because of their dietary restrictions. Koalas only eat fresh eucalyptus and procuring it can be a challenge. The Zoo has fresh eucalyptus flown in weekly from one of two specialty farms in the U.S., one in Arizona and the other in Florida.
Often mistakenly called bears, koalas are actually part of the marsupial family along with kangaroos, wombats and even North American opossums. Their young are born less developed than most mammals and finish their development inside the mother's pouch.
Northeast Ohio's most-visited year-round attraction, Cleveland Metroparks Zoo is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Admission is $11 per person, $8 for kids ages 2 to 11 and free for children younger than 2 and Zoo members. Parking is free. Located at 3900 Wildlife Way, the Zoo is easily accessible from Interstates 71, 90 and 480.
To learn more, visit clemetzoo.com or call (216) 661-6500.