Love is in the air! Perhaps the cutest (and most famous) koalas on the planet, Elsa and her sister Anna, decided to get in the spirit earlier than usual and celebrate Anna’s first ever Valentine’s Day! The koalas were showered in love and received kisses and cuddles from staff all day. In a cute video released by the Australian Reptile Park, Elsa and Anna are seen being given lots of attention and gifted with a beautiful bouquet of roses.
Elsa the koala had a rough start to life as her mother was unable to produce milk for the joey, and keepers were forced to intervene as she would not have survived otherwise. During Elsa’s infancy, koala whisperer Hayley Shute took on the role of becoming Elsa’s surrogate Mum. Since then, Elsa has thrived and grown into a perfect little koala.
Anna the koala joey was born last year, to Elsa’s birth mother – Irene. This makes Anna and Elsa beloved sisters just like their namesake from Disney’s movie Frozen. The pair have a very special bond and are often seen enjoying their lunch together.
Mammal Keeper Hewin Hochkins says, “Happy Valentine’s Day! We had so much fun showering Elsa and Anna with love this morning. They are both the most affectionate koalas we have had the pleasure of working with, they just love cuddles! I loved giving them roses this morning and giving them lots of attention for an early Valentine’s Day!”
Hochkins continues, “It’s more important now than ever to show the world just how special our koalas are and the importance of our crucial breeding program. If this video encourages just one person to donate towards koalas and their protection, then we can say we have spread the love this Valentine’s Day!”
Prior to the fires that ravaged Australia in 2019 and 2020, over 90% of koala habitat had already been lost with the remaining 10% being fragmented and vulnerable to intense bushfire. It is estimated at the current rate of decline, that koalas could be extinct as soon as 2050. The Australian Reptile Park’s sister charity Aussie Ark launched Koala Ark in response to the koala’s potential extinction crisis. To find out more, visit www.aussieark.org.au
Visitors can see Elsa and Anna the koalas in the koala exhibits at the Australian Reptile Park. They live amongst the wildlife sanctuary’s population of 40+ koalas and are a part of one of the most successful breeding programs for the species in New South Wales.