Two female koalas have recently arrived at Zurich Zoo, where it is hoped they will mate with two males as part of a conservation project.
Maisy, 3, and Pippa, 18 months, were presented to the media on Wednesday after coming out of quarantine. They arrived at Zurich Zooexternal link at the beginning of June to join Mikey and Milo, two males who have been at the zoo for nearly a year and a half.
Like the males, the new females come from the Australian Reptile Park in Sydney… so they might even have met before, zoologist Robert Zingg told journalists.
The two males have so far shared their space in Zurich with wallabies and emus, but Maisy is now sharing the same enclosure as Mikey. He seems interested, but she is ignoring him for the moment, even pushing out of a tree when he approached.
Pippa remains in a separate space for now, as she is younger and less strong. Female koalas generally give birth at 3 to 4 years of age.
Although not officially an endangered species, the koala population of Australia has been devastated over the last 100 years and is currently under threat due to urbanisation and massive, uncontrolled habitat destruction. The Australian Koala Foundationexternal link estimates that more than 80 percent of original koala habitat in Australia has been cleared since European settlement.