CZAAWE Resource Article

Findings from a feeding study of the koala (Phascolarctos cinereus adustus) at the San Francisco Zoo
Publication Type 
Journal Article
Year of publication 
Zoo Biology
Abstract 10.1002/zoo.1430110608.abs The feeding behavior of four captive adult koalas was investigated at the San Francisco Zoo. This study examined the correlations between koala preference for selected Eucalyptus species and the nutritional and chemical components of those species. The total grams of Eucalyptus leaves consumed daily per animal were not significantly different, averaging 400 grams. There were significant differences (P < 0.05) in consumption of the nine different Eucalyptus species across the 16-day feeding study. Significant differences in chemical composition (percent) were found among all Eucalyptus species examined. There was a significant positive correlation (P = 0.04) between quantity of a given Eucalyptus species consumed and crude protein level. A significant negative correlation was found between consumption and ADF (P = 0.01). No overall group pattern of correlation emerged between koala consumption and Eucalyptus essential oil content, although there were associations between individual koalas and certain essential oils (including cineole). The results suggest that it may not be the amount of an oil that determined Eucalyptus selection by the koalas, but rather the presence of a single oil or a combination of oils in the leaves. © 1992 Wiley-Liss, Inc.