Wed, Mar 13, 2002 - Page 4 News List

Zoo's koala bear is pregnant at last

By Sandy Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Pregnant koala bear Eva poses for the camera.

PHOTO: TAIPEI ZOO

After two unsuccessful attempts at mating, Eva, a female koala at the Taipei Zoo, is pregnant, zoo officials announced yesterday.

"The veterinarian detected Eva's pregnancy yesterday when he was giving her a check-up," said Chen Yi-ming (陳億民), Taipei Zoo's koala division chief. "It's good news that we've been waiting to hear for a long time," Chen said.

Since Eva arrived at the zoo last September, the zoo's veterinarians tried twice to entice her to mate with Harley, one of the zoo's male koalas.

"But both attempts were unsuccessful," Chen said, "so on the third try, we set Eva up with Action instead."

The zoo has five koalas, all from Australia. While males Harley and Patrick have been at the zoo since 1999, the zoo's female koalas Eva and Liggy, and another male, Action, joined the zoo's koala family in September.

Both Harley and Patrick are five years old, while Eva and Liggy are four and Action is three.

Chen said a two-year-old koala bear is considered to be fully grown and ready for mating. Eva and Action mated in January.

"Usually we would know whether the mating was successful after about 30 days. However, to make sure that we did not disturb Eva, we waited until yesterday to to determine whether she was pregnant," Chen said. "Right now, the cub is about the size of a human thumb.

"If all goes well we will be able to see the baby koala when it sticks its head out from its mother's pouch in about six to eight months."

Chen said that Eva shares living quarters with Liggy, but that those arrangements might change.

"To protect Eva from disturbances such as the camera flashes of zoo visitors, the zoo is considering putting her in an isolated room to ensure she has an optimal environment [for her pregnancy]," he said.

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