Koala Care: Koala Hospital by Suzi Eszterhas
"ACTUALLY, IT'S PEOPLE WHO ARE LIVING IN THE KOALAS' BACKYARDS."
As author Suzi Eszterhas points out in her forthcoming Koala Hospital (Wildlife Rescue) (Owlkids Books, 2015), it is happenstance that the koalas' favorite backyard is in one of the most thickly human-populated areas of Australia. After all, koalas have been in southeastern Australia for twenty million years. Living high in trees on a preferred diet of eucalyptus leaves, their medicinal scent and taste discouraged predators and they had few threats until people came along to live among them.
Modern Australians are quite fond of their koalas, but as the population of modern Australia has grown, the number of koalas has shrunk, mostly because of the humans' vehicles, chemicals, and destruction of their habitat.
Enter Cheyne Flanagan, whose affection for the furry creatures inspired the first Koala rescue project and eventually the founding of the Koala Hospital to care for injured, sick, and orphaned koalas. One of nature's cutest animals, with a face like a drowsy one-year-old just roused from a nap, it is not hard to find foster parents for motherless baby koalas, who spend months developing inside their mothers' pouches and cannot even begin to eat solid food (leaves, leaves, and more leaves) until they are over six months old. Fed milk from a syringe, cuddled constantly, and given plush teddy bears to comfort them, koala orphans thrive until they are ready to move on to Koala Nursery School where with other juveniles, they learn to climb and eat on their own and are eventually returned to the "wild," even if it is to the wilds of a leafy suburban neighborhood.
Sick and injured koalas are coaxed down from their treetop refuges and taken by the Koala Ambulance to the Koala Hospital, where they are treated by professionals with modern medicine and tenderly cared for by loving volunteers. Koala Hospital is also a teaching and research facility where animal scientists and veterinarians can study and refine their skills.
The first book in Owlkids' new Wildlife Rescue series, Koala Hospital (Wildlife Rescue) is a highly informative book, filled with full- and partial-page color photographs, and written in accessible language for the elementary grade reader. A generous glossary, question-and-answer session, bibliography and factual sections--"Conservation" and "How You Can Help Koalas" add to the impact of this solid nonfiction book, named a 2015 Junior Library Guild selection.
A portion of the price of each copy will be donated to the Koala Hospital.