Columbia, S.C., March 15, 2005 - The recent addition of a baby koala, named Karoo, to the koala exhibit at Riverbanks Zoo & Garden has created excitement from Columbia all the way to the koala's native Australia. Those interested in tracking the activities of Karoo and the other koalas can now do so from anywhere in the world by visiting South Carolina Electric and Gas Company's (SCE&G) educational Web site, EnergeticMinds.com.
A special camera provided to Riverbanks Zoo & Garden courtesy of SCE&G offers a live video feed of the koalas within their zoo habitat. The video feed – tabbed "SCE&G ZooView" – is available from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. EST daily through a link on EnergeticMinds.com. The site also features fun facts about koalas and other animals that reside at the zoo.
Koalas are native to Australia, and are considered a national treasure by the Australian government. They are rarely made available to zoos in other countries. However, a "sister-state" relationship established in 1999 between South Carolina and Queensland led to the donation of two koalas, including Karoo's mother Lottie, to Riverbanks Zoo & Garden in October 2003. The koalas were presented courtesy of the Queensland Government, which operates David Fleay Wildlife Park where the koalas previously dwelled. There are only a handful of zoos in the United States that exhibit koalas and few have successfully bred them.
Sharon Jenkins, senior vice president of marketing and communications for SCE&G's parent company, SCANA Corp., said her company is excited to be involved in showcasing the zoo and its newest attraction. "For the past 30 years, Riverbanks Zoo & Garden has entertained children and families, providing them with fun and educational insight into a variety of animals and the habitats in which they live," said Jenkins. "We're proud to offer EnergeticMinds.com as a window through which the world can see a unique example of what makes the zoo one of South Carolina's top visitor destinations."
EnergeticMinds.com is an interactive, community-oriented Web site that uses a mix of entertaining and educational content to help parents, teachers and students learn about energy and a host of other topics. Riverbanks Zoo & Garden Executive Director Satch Krantz said the site is representative of SCE&G's ongoing commitment to education and community service.
"SCE&G has consistently supported educational and cultural initiatives in the communities it serves," said Krantz. "Our partnership with SCE&G through this ZooView initiative is just one more example of that. We're excited about the possibility of expanding on that partnership moving forward."