Great Plains Zoo koalas settle into new Sioux Falls home

Monday, two new additions to the Great Plains Zoo arrived by plane in Sioux Falls.

Starting Saturday, guests can visit Australian koalas Moki and Burra at the zoo's Koala Wilds exhibit through Labor Day 2017.

Friday afternoon, KSFY News got a sneak peek. So far they're settling nicely into their new home.

"Getting used to Sioux Falls, settling in, enjoying their Eucalyptus," Zoo President and CEO Elizabeth Whealy said.

The koalas are commonly referred to as 'koala bears' but Zoo President and CEO Elizabeth Whealy says don't be fooled.

"Koalas are not bears, they're marsupials. Carrying young in a pouch. Kangaroos, wallabies and koalas," Whealy said.

Moki, 2, and Burra, 3, have pretty specific instructions when it comes to their care. But, we learned, the trainers are ready having spent some time in San Diego to see what it takes.

"These guys have specific temp and humidity guidelines, and specific protocols for how they're handled so all of that makes for a very comfortable stay here with us," Whealy said. "We'll be flying in fresh food for these animals twice a week, good and fresh eucalyptus and keeping health at an optimum level."

She says having Moki and Burra here is something that doesn't happen everyday.

"This is a pretty rare opportunity to be selected by San Diego Zoo Global to have a loan for koalas. We've been working on it for a long, long time. Now we have it here in Sioux Falls," Whealy said. "For a zoo our size, this is very exciting. For a guest, this is very exciting. Unless you go to the east or west coast, the only place to see them is in our zoo this summer."

The Great Plains Zoo and Delbridge Museum of Natural History is open Monday through Saturday from 9-5 and Sundays from 11-5.



 
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