Zoo's New Koala 'Netty' Will Be Mate for 'Luke'

Zookeepers hope the pair will breed successfully.

February 14, 2013

Just in time for Valentine's Day, 'Luke' the koala gets a mate. Last night, a female Queensland koala named 'Netty' from the Los Angeles Zoo arrived at the ABQ BioPark Zoo. After a few weeks behind-the-scenes, the seven-year-old female will join Luke in the Koala Creek Exhibit. They are a recommended breeding pair, and zookeepers hope for koala joeys in the upcoming year.

'Netty' was born at the Taronga Zoo in Sydney, Australia. She was mother-reared and transfered to the LA Zoo. She was roommates with Luke before he came to Albuquerque in December. Netty comes to the ABQ BioPark as a recommendation of the Species Survival Plan from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA).

"We're excited to once again have Queensland koalas here at the BioPark," said Rick Janser, ABQ BioPark Director. "We're honored to be chosen as a breeding facility for these threatened animals."

The ABQ BioPark participates in more than twenty Species Survival Plans, which work as matchmakers for endangered and threatened species. Animal care teams at AZA-accredited facilities across the country partner in breeding efforts and research. Working together, they're able to maintain healthy, genetically diverse, and demographically varied AZA populations.

Koalas (Phascolarctos cinereus) are a threatened species and protected by Australian law, although habitat loss continues to threaten populations. These marsupials spend most of their lives in trees, where they sleep for 18-19 hours a day.

BioPark visitors can continue to see Luke, along with tree kangaroos, wallabies, budgerigars, kookaburras, lorikeets and the country's only Tasmanian wombats. The Australia exhibits are open to the public from 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. daily and included with regular admission. For more information, email [email protected] or dial 311 locally (505-768-2000).