Cleland’s koalas discover a new home in Hong Kong

23 March 2015

Three South Australian koalas from Cleland Wildlife Park have officially moved into their new home at Ocean Park Hong Kong, where they are set to promote South Australia as a destination of choice to more than 7 million park visitors each year.

Governor Hieu Van Le and Premier Jay Weatherill today launched the ‘Adventures in Australia’ exhibit at Ocean Park, one of the world’s most popular theme parks, in a big to strengthen the cultural relationship between South Australia and Hong Kong and boost inbound tourism.

“The ‘Adventures in Australia’ exhibit is a small piece of our own Cleland Wildlife Park here in Hong Kong, featuring three koalas, as well as kookaburras and wallabies in an environment that recreates Australia,” Mr Weatherill said.

“We have donated these koalas to Hong Kong as a sign of our friendship with the region, but our State is also set to benefit through an extraordinary opportunity to promote South Australia.

“All visitors to the exhibit will view a short video that promotes our State as a place where they can experience these animals in their natural environment, highlighting images of Cleland Wildlife Park, Kangaroo Island, the Flinders Rangers as well as the Riverbank Precinct.

“This project, which has involved only a modest investment from the State Government, is a coup for South Australia and is the brainchild of our Governor Hieu Van Le.

Ocean Park, a Government owned non-profit organisation, has established a strong reputation around its standards for conservation and animal care, with a commitment to educating young people on the importance of environmental protection.

The park has received commendation from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums for its excellence in animal care.

The three koalas arrived in Hong Kong late last year and have been supported through quarantine by handlers from Cleland Wildlife Park, whilst they become accustomed to Chinese grown gum leaves.

South Australian food and wine will also be showcased over the coming months at Ocean Park, with menus designed by South Australian chef Nigel Rich to celebrate the State’s produce.

The Governor and Premier were also joined by Tung Ngo MLC and Jing Lee MLC for the opening of the ‘Adventures in Australia’ exhibit, along with dozens of Hong Kong and Chinese media.

“The media coverage of this event has already generated an estimated $2 million in exposure for South Australia – and that’s before the exhibit has opened to the public,” Mr Weatherill said.

“Importantly, this is also about strengthening our relationship with Hong Kong, who is an important trading partner in South East Asia.”

A competition to name one of the koalas has also taken place, involving students from Mark Oliphant College in SA and Kiangsu-Chekiang Colleague in Hong Kong, with a vote cast by more than 100,000 Hong Kong residents.

The successful name, ‘Yani’ (pronounced Yau Yau in Cantonese) is a word of Kaurna origin meaning ‘peace’.

Premier Jay Weatherill


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