SF Zoo hosts koala naming contest to raise funds for Australia wildfire relief

Bay Area

SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — San Francisco Zoo & Gardens announced on Thursday a koala naming contest that will benefit Australian bushfire wildlife relief efforts.

In December, the zoo welcomed a two-year-old male koala to its Koala Crossing habitat. He was transferred from the Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens.

Rather than have the public simply submit names, participants are asked to donate what they can in order to submit a name. All funds will benefit the Bushfire Emergency Wildlife Fund.

The contest will run through the month of January.

The bushfires in eastern Australia have killed at least 23 people and destroyed more than 1,700 homes. The area burned is larger than the total area of South Korea and 1.3 times the size of Scotland.

The ongoing fire crisis has spread across six states over several months.

Tanya Peterson, CEO and executive director of SF Zoological Society said she hopes the community can come together to make a difference.

“As home to various ambassadors of Australian wildlife, we are heartbroken by the devastating loss of their kin due to the horrific wildfires in Australia,” Peterson said. “Through the month of January, we are directing our conservation fund to the rescue, care and recovery of wildlife in Australia. This is a critical time when we must all band together, and it is our hope that this contest will encourage people to help.”

Guests visiting the zoo through January are asked to “round-up” their change at the zoo’s stores and cafes, or make cash donations at collection boxes located around the zoo.

The public can enter the contest through the SF Zoo website and donate directly along with their chosen names.

The winning name will be announced after the contest ends Jan. 31.

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