Five southern koalas have arrived at their new home in England to help boost the numbers of the vulnerable marsupials, after a move planned out and prepared over more than two years.
The four females and one male, the only southern koalas in Europe, will reside at the Longleat Safari Park in southwest England having completed their more than 30-hour journey from Adelaide.
"They've gone from literally learning how to be in the crate, learning about these plane noises, learning about the keepers," James William Dennis, an animal keeper at Longleat, said of the preparation.
The move was part of an initiative by the South Australian government to grow koala numbers. The Australian government declared the species vulnerable in 2012 after habitat destruction, road accidents and dog attacks reduced their numbers to fewer than 100,000.
Southern koalas are much heavier than their northern counterparts and have thicker fur to protect them through winter.
"It's the first individuals within Europe. So it's a big, big step towards helping the species survive and also helping other species which need help," Dennis added.
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