First Koalas in the Netherlands

GeneralApr - 19, 2024
In cooperation with Air France KLM Martinair Cargo, Ouwehands Zoo in Rhenen welcomed three koalas to their custom-built, dedicated habitat called “Koalia”, marking a special occasion because apart from being the only koalas in the Netherlands, they are the first to set foot on Dutch soil.

Koalas are housed in zoos around the world within the scope of management programmes contributing to the genetic wellbeing of the population and protecting the species. The koala is listed as “vulnerable” on the IUCN Red List, and Australia has classified the species as “endangered” following a rapid decline in their numbers in recent years.

On 4 April, an animal caretaker from Ouwehands Zoo departed for the Californian San Diego Zoo to pick up the koalas. After several days of training with caregivers, she returned today with the three koalas who will inhabit their brand-new residence at Ouwehands Zoo. The KLM aircraft, arriving from Los Angeles, landed this morning at 08:45 carrying these special passengers. KLM Cargo previously transported giant pandas from China to the Netherlands destined for Ouwehands Zoo in 2017. Another unique species exclusively showcased at this zoo.

Air France KLM Martinair Cargo specialises in the animal-friendly, responsible transportation of various species and employs specialised staff with the necessary knowledge and skills to accompany the animals on their journey. KLM is one of very few airlines with its own animal hotel at Schiphol. It is fully equipped to care for animals before, during and after the journey. In a secluded environment, specially trained animal stewards ensure that the animals travel as comfortably and safely as possible.

Upon arrival, the animals are unloaded from the aircraft´s cargo hold and transported to the KLM Animal Hotel, where they are cleared through customs and undergo a health check. The final leg of the journey saw them travelling from Amsterdam to Ouwehands Zoo in Rhenen.

The animals will take some time to recover from their journey and get used to their new surroundings. “Koalia” will open on 25 April, after which visitors to Ouwehands Zoo will be able to observe the koalas.

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