Aussie bid to save koalas by flying them to Pommyland
THESE well-travelled koalas have jetted 10,000 miles from Down Under to their new home in Britain – the first of their kind to live in Europe.
The five southern koalas arrived from a wildlife park near Adelaide to Longleat Safari Park, Wiltshire, via Heathrow accompanied by keepers and a veterinary team.
Conservation experts hope they will act as ambassadors for the species in Europe in an international effort to spread small groups to parks and zoos across the world.
Southern koalas, which have thicker fur and can weigh twice as much as northern koalas, are not endangered but are considered to be vulnerable.
Numbers have dropped nearly 80 per cent in two decades, in part due to an epidemic that has ravaged the species.
Longleat has built Koala Creek for its new guests, including a stream, eucalyptus trees, climbing poles and naturally-themed habitats. And they will be given the winter to settle in before going on show next spring.
Bill Muirhead, agent general of the government of South Australia, said: “The arrival of the first southern koalas in Europe is a milestone in the fight to protect the koala population in South Australia.”
Pioneering koalas left this wildlife park near Adelaide to make their new home in Britain
Inset, the five koalas arriving at Heathrow Thursday night and, above, settling in at Longleat yesterday