Thursday, June 18, 2009


Healesville Sanctuary's baby koala Benni
pops out of mum Mia's pouch

Healesville Sanctuary's baby koala and newest rising star has been christened Benni. The moniker recognises the Gippsland township of Bennison from where the sanctuary's first koala population hailed. And it also recognises the significance of the 75th anniversary of the celebrated fauna park.

Herald Sun reader Laura Doorty nominated the name in honour of her late dad Frank Doran, a cattle farmer charged with capturing and transporting the marsupials from his property to Healesville's Koala Sanctuary.

Now 87, Ms Doorty remembers her family's involvement in the establishment of the Koala Sanctuary at Healesville. "Dad was approached by Mr Jack Lindupp, a postal official at Healesville, to catch and supply the first koalas to the Healesville Sanctuary," she daid. "A permit was secured from the fisheries and Wildlife department and Dad captured the koalas by felling the trees and restraining them."

Ms Doorty, who was aged about 12, "stood there while they were caught and helped hold the bags open while they went in." Her sister Gladys Clavarino, now 91, was also present. "Word was then sent to Healesville that they were ready to be picked up. They were transported to the sancuary in kerosene tin cases, (one in each case). "Some cases were inside the car and there were three of the tins with koalas in them on each side running board."

Ms Doorty was "totally thrilled" the name has been adopted by the koala keepers. "It is real history from way back to the start of it all," she said. "All the koalas arrived in perfect condition and quickly settled down in their new surroundings." - Kelly Ryan, Melbourne Herald Sun.

Check out Benni's picture gallery here.


Susan said...

I love koalas! At our local BIG zoo, the Columbus(Ohio) Zoo and Aquarium, there is an Australia section with kangaroos, lorikeets, and a nocturnal animal exhibit. But my favorite exhibit is the koala enclosure. I think they have six now, because they keep having babies! I took the grandkids last week and there were two new babes in there. And most of the koalas were awake and moving around a little. It was very exciting. Unfortunately, it was at the end of a very long and tiring visit and the kids were cranky, so we didn't get to observe as long as I would have liked.

I loved the story of the sanctuary!

Ladybug said...

That's great that your Zoo has so many Australian animals and birds. Yes, Koalas are a little like rabbits, I think as far as breeding is concerned.

Victorians are really proud of the Sanctuary. Overseas visitors are usually taken for a drive out through our Yarra Valley (where most of the wineries are)to the Sanctuary at Healesville and back to a winery for lunch.