A Mother and her "Gum Baby", Koala Park

Real Photo
3.5" x 5.5" (9 x 14 cm)
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The native bear of Australia called the Koala. Of the fauna of Australia the Native Bear stands quite unique. Briefly, it may be described as arboreal, phillophageous, gregarious, migratory, sedentary, and polygamous; of no relation to the true bear or sloth family, being a marsupial, and an antiquated form of Australian fauna. Like other members of the order, the young of the koala is born at a tiny immature state and placed in the pouch by the mother and attached to the teat where it harbours for 6 months. When fully furred and about 6 inches long it emerges, continuing to make use of the pouch for a few more months until too big to secure accommodation within. Mother koala will carry her baby until a year old. On the move she carries it pick-a-back; when sitting it reclines upon her lap or is seen clasped in her arms. As a rule, Koalas breed one at a time every second year. At 4 years young "Blue Gum" - as often called - is fully grown and may live to 15 years or more. The native bear loves the tall trees of the forest; he is sturdily built and fittingly adapted with powerful limbs and sharp stout claws to enable movements aloft with grace and precision. Mostly, however, he is a sedentary creature often observed sleeping by day wedged into a fork of a gum. Seldom will bears venture upon the ground, preferring to change trees overhead of possible. They subsist upon the foliage of certain eucalyptus trees. Bears seldom drink, whilst domestic foodstuffs to them are deleterious, neither will they survive captivity. From the bush this fascinating and lovable creature seems gone forever. However, at Koala Park, a determined effort is being made to assure future survival of the species privately by Mr. Noel Burnet and Mr. T.H. Kelly, being the first and only successful attempt to propagate native bears in captive but natural conditions

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