Four koalas received as gifts from Australia to Singapore ready to meet visitors;
Singapore Zoo celebrates Koalamania with a host of activities during June school holidays
SINGAPORE, 20 May 2015 – Four furry envoys from Australia – koalas Chan, Idalia, Paddle and Pellita – are set to welcome visitors at Singapore Zoo with the opening of their new exhibit today, in a ceremony officiated by Mr K Shanmugam, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Law, Singapore, and The Honourable Julie Bishop, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Australia.
The quartet is a precious gift from Australia to Singapore on the occasion of Singapore’s 50th anniversary of independence, and the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Australia and Singapore.
Ms Claire Chiang, Chairman, Wildlife Reserves Singapore, said,“The four koalas are living emblems of the strong and longstanding friendship between Australia and Singapore. Their stay in Singapore Zoo presents an excellent opportunity for visitors to have a peek at these fascinating animals that stand among the biggest icons of endemic Australian wildlife.”
Originating from Brisbane’s Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, the four koalas landed safely in Singapore onboard Qantas Airways on 13 April 2015, and underwent a one-month quarantine period. They will stay at Singapore Zoo until January 2016 before returning to Australia. During the koalas’ time in Singapore, Qantas Airways will fly in eucalypt leaves – the koalas’ primary diet – twice weekly from Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary.
In the home state of Queensland where the four koalas hail from, marsupials are considered ‘vulnerable’ and are threatened by habitat loss and encroachment, motor vehicle accidents, diseases, bush fires and even attack by suburban dogs. Wildlife Reserves Singapore (parent company of Singapore Zoo) is currently supporting the Bob Irwin Wildlife & Conservation Foundation Inc. in their efforts to produce a series of short education films to raise awareness of the threats koalas face in the wild.
Prior to the koalas’ arrival, Singapore Zoo took two months to design and build a special 210 square metre climate-controlled exhibit. The koala exhibit is an addition to the Australian zone, a dedicated section in Singapore Zoo that showcases Australian wildlife. ANZ Singapore is the proud adopter of the Australian zone.
During the opening of the koala exhibit, the Australian High Commission presented two street art murals to Singapore Zoo, created by graffiti and stencil artist Regan Tamanul.
Ms Chiang said, “As proud custodian of the four koalas, Singapore Zoo has planned a month-long Koalamania celebration in honour of the marsupials, and we invite everybody to join us for the festivities.”
In celebration of SG50, local residents visiting Singapore Zoo can visit River Safari on the same day and enjoy 50% off River Safari admission tickets. Singaporeans and permanent residents aged 60 years and above enjoy free admission to Singapore Zoo from 30 May to 30 June 2015.*
Singapore Zoo has planned a series of Koalamania activities for the June holidays in tandem with the opening of the koala exhibit. On weekends between 30 May to 28 June, visitors can look forward to aboriginal dance performances, mascot meet and greet sessions, and Australian arts and crafts stations. In addition, visitors can enjoy animal-themed Zoolympix educational activities with game-stations and awareness booths.
*Terms and conditions for promotions apply. Visit http://zoo.com.sg/events-promos/events-promos.html for details.