The male pair are the first koalas to arrive in a European country east of the Iron Curtain and were introduced to the public last Thursday afternoon during a visit from the Budapest mayor István Tarlós. Visitors to the zoo while in Budapest on Danube river cruises will be able to see the fascinating creatures when exploring one of the Hungarian capital’s most popular attractions.
Both Nur-Nuru-Bin and Vobara are owned by the Australian state, as with all koalas kept in zoos, but arrived from Belgium and Germany. There are a very small number of koalas in zoos outside of Australia, with just nine zoos out of 1000 able to claim being home to the marsupials, making the two at Budapest Zoo a very exciting addition.
Long-awaited arrivals are now living at the zoo
Preparations for the mammals at the zoo began in 2009 with a newly built Koala House, which is part of the Australia Zone and provides accommodation according to international standards. Food for the koalas has to be specially sourced from a eucalyptus plantation in southern England, which arrives by an air freight carrier who deliver the leaves.
As part of the international koala programme, new zoo members are only allowed to home male koalas first. Once these are settled, Budapest Zoo can then apply to replace one of the males with a female, which may then open up opportunities for breeding. Both koalas are three years old and are still considered young at this age, as they are expected to reach adult size in their fourth year of life.
Although they share the same name, koalas are in fact not related to the bear species, but are in fact related closely to the rare Wombat.
Image Credit: vincent lee (Flickr.com)
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