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Sat. Jun 15th, 2024

Koalas make an adorable, yet sleepy, return to the Louisville Zoo

By meerna Jun12,2024

For the first time in over twenty years, koalas returned to the Louisville Zoo: two-year-old male Dharuk and four-year-old male Telowie.

The men’s duo, originally from the San Diego Zoo, arrived in Louisville like many out-of-town guests: on a commercial plane with their own seats. Scott Rammel, a wildlife care specialist at the San Diego Zoo, said he was traveling with two koalas who were in their own kennels.

“They don’t come into the load. They’re flying with us,” Rammel said. “The trip went very smoothly and both boys did very well.”

On Tuesday, the zoo’s koala exhibit opened outside the Glacier Run grounds to an excited and cheering crowd of young visitors and their families. At one end of the exhibit, Telowie greeted visitors by munching on eucalyptus leaves, an essential food in every koala’s diet. Dharuk, on the other hand, was dozing high in a tree.

“It’s very exciting,” said Jessica Cunningham, deputy curator of mammals at the zoo. “We haven’t seen a koala here for a long time. This will be a long-term loan for us. That’s why we’re very excited to share everything about koalas with our guests.”

According to a zoo spokesman, the last time koalas were exhibited was in the 1980s and again in 2000. Both exhibits were temporary at the time. This time, Dharuk and Telowie will stay at the Louisville Zoo indefinitely.

They were both born at the San Diego Zoo. The California Zoo hosts one of the largest and most successful koala breeding programs outside Australia. The first koalas arrived at the San Diego Zoo in 1925 as a gift from Sydney children. Rammel said there are between 20 and 35 koalas at the San Diego Zoo this year.

According to a spokesman for the Louisville Zoo, Dharuk and Telowi’s departure was made possible through “an agreement with the Australian government.”

“It’s always sad to see a few of them go,” Rammel said, “but we know they’re in a really good situation. They’re going to have a really good time here in Louisville. People will really enjoy it.”

The Louisville Zoo is one of nine zoos in the country where koalas are kept. The zoo authorities said they hope to bring more koalas in the future.

By meerna

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