Koala pair coming to roost at Ocean Park

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 11 February, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 11 February, 2010, 12:00am

Ocean Park will receive two new additions to its animal kingdom - a pair of young koalas from South Australia.

The Australian icons will be flown to Hong Kong within the next two years, as a gift by the South Australian state government. But the arrival dates have not been fixed yet.

The male and female koalas will be housed and taken care of in a new habitat at Ocean Park. The theme park has never kept a koala.

The present was announced yesterday by South Australian Premier Mike Rann at a Lunar New Year reception in Adelaide hosted by the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office.

Financial Secretary John Tsang Chun-wah said the gift signified the friendship between Hong Kong and South Australia.

'I wish to express my sincere thanks to the people and government of South Australia for presenting two koalas to us and entrusting Ocean Park to take care of these animals, which are the national icon of Australia,' Tsang said.

He said with its extensive experience and expertise in handling marine and land animals, Ocean Park would be able to provide the koalas a healthy habitat and care.

Ocean Park also thanked the South Australia government, saying the koalas would become permanent residents of the park and serve as important conservation ambassadors.

It said South Australian government representatives paid a visit to the park in November and were impressed with its excellent facilities, education programme and conservation efforts.

'We are absolutely thrilled and grateful for this precious gift from the South Australian government,' Ocean Park chairman Allan Zeman said.

'We will strive to leverage on Ocean Park's strong local connection and window to the world to tell the story of the koalas and their conservation messages to the local and international communities in vision of connecting people with nature.'