Thursday, February 22, 2018
Travel

Looking Back: Adele and her baby koala come out of hiding (December 27, 1991)

This story appeared in the pages of the St. Petersburg Times on December 27, 1991. What follows is the text of the original story, interspersed with photos of the event taken by Times staff photographer Tony Lopez.

BABY KOALA IS NOW OUT OF POCKET

By Amber Grimes

Times staff writer

Seven months after he got his start, Kunara finally has a good view of the rest of the world. Kunara, Busch Garden's shy baby koala, has been working his way out of his mother's pouch since his birth on May 14. At the time, he was the size of a jellybean.

TIMES | Tony Lopez

TIMES | Tony Lopez

Now, at roughly a pound, he can be glimpsed through the eucalyptus leaves, clinging to his mother, in the koala exhibit. "We started really seeing him out and on his mother's back about a week ago," said Loretta Newcamp, lead keeper for the koala exhibit.

Kunara's arrival has sparked tourist interests, zoo officials say.

"The best time to see him is between 1:30 and 2:30 p.m.," Newcamp said. "That's usually when he gets out."

TIMES | Tony Lopez

He's a bit of an attention seeker as well, zoo keepers say. When a crowd gathers, Kunara often wriggles out from under his mother Adele's arms. Sometimes Adele will even swing her arms to show off her baby.

TIMES | Tony Lopez

TIMES | Tony Lopez

He hasn't yet ventured out onto the tree limbs _ that's a month or so away, she said.

Right now, Kunara crawls back into the pouch to nurse. But in a month, he won't be able to get his body into the pouch, so he'll just have to stick his head in.

TIMES | Tony Lopez

Kunara is Busch Garden's first baby koala born in captivity. He is only the second koala to be born in Florida. His sister Kiami, who lives in the exhibit next to him, was the first. She was born two years ago at Miami's Metro Zoo.

Along with Kunara, Kiami and Adele, two other koalas live at Busch Gardens. They are on loan from the San Diego Zoo.

Trainers came up with the name Kunara using his father's nickname: Shark Man. Koobor, Kunara's dad, has had a tendency to bite his keepers. Kunara looked like a baby shark when he was born, Newcamp said.

Busch spokeswoman Lisa Brock said Kunara means tiger shark in the language of Australian aborigines.

TIMES | Tony Lopez

TIMES | Tony Lopez

To order reprints, license or download any Times image from this gallery, or to see other koala photos, please visit the Times image archive.

Jeremy King

Twitter: @TBTimesArchive

e-mail: [email protected]

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