The Palm Beach Zoo recently announced the arrival of a female koala, Katherine, from the Los Angeles Zoo.
Katherine came to the Palm Beach Zoo on a Species Survival Plan (SSP) breeding recommendation, said Nancy Nill, the zoo’s associate curator. “We are excited to welcome her to our family.”
Katherine traveled in style from coast to coast on a commercial flight.
“She was a little nervous during the first portion of the flight, by the second leg, she was a pro,” said Kevin Gorowski, the animal keeper who traveled with Katherine from Los Angeles.
Both zoos also worked together on a joint social media campaign.
“We wanted to do something special for people lucky enough to have Katherine on their flight,” said Palm Beach Zoo spokeswoman Naki Carter. “We put together special swag bags for the passengers and crew.”
Katherine, like all incoming zoo animals, will enter into a mandatory 30-day quarantine.
“Guests will be able to see her during this time; this is a first in the history of our zoo,” said Nill.
After the quarantine period, Katherine will have some informal introductions with the zoo’s male koala, Oz, who arrived in 2010 from the Riverbanks Zoo in Columbia, S.C.
Zoo officials are hopeful the two will produce new generations of koalas.
Koalas are notoriously picky eaters who consume an exclusive diet of eucalyptus. With the addition of Katherine, Palm Beach Zoo says it will require around 175 pounds of eucalyptus a week, at a cost of around $60,000 a year to feed the pair.
“We sent two samples of browse to Los Angeles for Katherine, to make sure she had ample opportunity to try our fare,” said Nill.
Pictured above: The Palm Beach Zoo’s male koala, Oz, who arrived in 2010 from the Riverbanks Zoo in Columbia, S.C.