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Our Koalas Draw Big
Crowds To U.S. Zoo
LOS ANGELES, Jan. 9 (A.A.P.).-Four koala bears, the first to be ex- ported from Australia in 25 years, settled down at San Diego Zoo, Cali- fornia, to-day.
The director of the zoo, Mrs. Belle Benchley, said they immediately began to feed like "little pigs" on leaves from 14 kinds of eucalyptus trees planted at the zoo in the last 20 years.
The koalas arrived at Los Angeles by air on Monday and were taken to Paramount film studios, which helped Mrs. Benchley get permission from the
Australian Government to
import them on loan.
They will be featured in "Botany Bay," a film on the early history of Australia.
The koalas were photo- graphed at the ^studio with James Mason and Patricia Medina, who will star in the film, and with director John Farrow, who was horn in
They were then taken to San Diego, about 100 miles to the south, where 2,000 visitors saw them yesterday.
A veterinarian, a botanist and a crowd of photo- graphers and reporters met the bears at Los Angeles airport.
"They seemed very tired alter their trip, although they were extremely well
taken care of on the plane," Mrs. Benchley said.
"I was a bit worried about them - particularly about one of the females who didn't seem to want to
open her eyes. But all of them perked up and are now fine."
Mrs. Benchley said she has received telephone calls and telegrams of congratu- lation from directors of many other American zoos on obtaining permission to import the koalas.
"T guess they are hoping this has broken the ice and that they will be able to get some bears themselves," she said.