Hungary has become the first European country to the east ot the Iron Curtain to welcome koalas in one of its zoos. Two of Australia’s trademark mammals are available for vistors to see at Budapest Zoo from today.
Of the two animals, Nur-Nuru-Bin arrived from Belgium and Vobara from Germany to the Hungarian capital, but just like all koalas kept in zoos, both of them are owned by the Australian state. The pair, who arrived to the zoo one and a half week ago, were first introduced to the public on Thursday afternoon.
Although koalas resemble a toy bear, there is no relation between the two species; within the group of marsupials, they are related most closely to another rare species, the wombat. Koalas are only at a very small number of zoos outside Australia – of the over 1000 zoos in Europe, the species can only be seen in nine, including Budapest Zoo.
Preparations were begun to receive the koalas as early as 2009. The zoo’s newly built Koala House, part of the Australian Zone, provides the animals with accomodation up to all international standards. The zoo also goes to extraordinary lengths to provide for koalas’ food, receiving two shipments a week from an eucalyptus plantation in southern England. The institution has concluded an agreement with air freight carrier DHL to deliver the leaves.
The koalas were introduced to the public on Thursday afternoon in the presence of Budapest mayor István Tarlós, State Secretary at the Prime Minister’s Office László L. Simon and Miklós Persányi, Director-General of the Budapest Zoo.
via szeretlekmagyarorszag.hu and hvg.hu
photos: hvg.hu/Máté Fülöp and Tamás Kovács/MTI