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Cuddly koala contingent arrives in Guangzhou home
Latest Updated by 2006-04-28 10:33:20
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Wang Xiaoling, vice-mayor of Guangzhou, takes a koala from an Australian expert yesterday at Xiangjiang Safari Park in the southern city. The Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary in Queensland, Australia gave six koalas as gifts to mark the 30th anniversary of the establishment of Sino-Australian diplomatic relations. [Newsphoto]

Six koalas arrived in the southern city of Guangzhou yesterday (Apr 27), the first time the sleepy Australian marsupial has set foot on the Chinese mainland.

The koalas, three female and three male, were donated by the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary in Queensland, Australia, and will be raised at Xiangjiang Safari Park. They are between two and four years old.

The donation is a celebratory gift marking the 30th anniversary of the establishment of Sino-Australian diplomatic relations.

According to Dong Guixin, general manager of the park, the donation is part of a global koala protection plan agreed upon by Australia and China. The safari park has been chosen by the Australian Government after visits and evaluations by Australian experts.

"The park is an ideal habitat for the lovely koalas in terms of the climate, fodder supply and technical support," he said. "We are capable of taking good care of them."

Dong said that the park has designated 13.3 hectares of land for the koalas and has about 40,000 eucalyptus trees, the leaves of which the koalas live on.

The safari park, which opened to the public eight years ago, is home to more than 460 species.

He said that the koalas are in their prime so the safari park should produce its own cubs in the next couple of years. The park will become China's koala gene bank and propagation base.

According to Kelli-Ann Kerin, consul of the Australian Consulate-General Guangzhou, the koalas will easily acclimatize to the living environment in Guangzhou as the city shares a climate similar to Queensland.

She said she believed that the koalas will get on well, thanks to the good preparation by the park, and technical support and training from Australian experts.

The six koalas was handpicked from 56 at the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary and they were quarantined for a whole month before being flown over on a chartered aircraft.

The koalas will be isolated for over one month in Guangzhou for acclimatization to the environment, and will be unveiled to the public in late June.

The news of the arrival has aroused great interest among local people.

"Koalas are very cute, I just can't wait to see them!" Guo Guo, a Guangzhou resident, told China Daily.

Editor: Wing

By: Source: China Daily Website
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