Four koalas—Paddle, Pellita, Idalia, and Chan—were imported into Singapore from Australia on 13 April 2015. The koalas, from Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary in Brisbane, are on loan from Australia to mark 50 years of strong relations between Singapore and Australia, and as part of Singapore's celebration of the golden jubilee—SG50.
AVA was actively involved in the preparation work prior to the arrival of the four furry guests. This included discussions with Wildlife Reserves Singapore and other government agencies to facilitate the import of the koalas. We also inspected the koalas' quarantine and housing facilities at the Singapore Zoo prior to their import to ensure that the facilities met their health and welfare needs.
The marsupials were flown in on a specially chartered plane from Qantas Airline, accompanied by a team of handlers and a vet from Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary. The animals were each housed in a special crate that provided ventilation and adequate space for them to move around. Each koala was also given a thick eucalyptus branch to perch on.
Upon arrival, AVA officers gave Paddle, Pellita, Idalia, and Chan a health examination and verified relevant import and veterinary health documents. Following that, the koalas were quarantined for 30 days in their specially designed and air-conditioned enclosures. Each day during this period, zoo staff monitored their health and adaptation to their new environment. AVA officers also conducted an inspection during the quarantine period to ensure that zoo staff were adopting biosecurity measures.
Because the koalas' unique diet requires nearly 500g of fresh native eucalyptus leaves each day, a new batch is flown in from Australia and Thailand at least twice a week for them. To keep important plant pests out of Singapore, AVA conducts post-entry inspections on imported plants. The timely import and delivery of this fresh supply of eucalyptus leaves is made possible with AVA's effective clearances at the point of arrival.
The koala exhibit was officially opened on 20 May 2015 by Mr K Shanmugam, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Law, and Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop.