Amazing moment a KOALA travels alongside Eurowings plane passengers
The koala bear, a 19-month-old Queensland koala, is named Tanami. He was flying with low-cost airline Eurowings and managed to nab an entire row of seats to himself.
Tanami was travelling 700 miles from Duisburg Zoo in Dusseldorf, Germany to Scotland to join Edinburgh Zoo.
The koala needed the entire row to himself as the creatures are a sensitive breed and can be highly strung.
Adorable images show him in a large travel cage accompanied by his keeper – as well as cuddling the man at the zoo.
They travel in the plane’s cabin and not in the hold so keepers can easily make sure everything’s okay during the flight
He was even treated to a big bag of eucalyptus so he could snack on his favourite food throughout the flight, the Mirror reported.
Darren McGarry, Head of Living Collections at RZSS Edinburgh Zoo, said: “Koalas are very sensitive animals, so special care needs to be taken when transporting them.
“They travel in the plane’s cabin and not in the hold so keepers can easily make sure everything’s okay during the flight.
“We are very excited to have Tanami join us here at the zoo. Koalas are a real favourite among our visitors and it’s great to see him settling in well and enjoying his new surroundings.”
Tanami is trading places with Toorie, Edinburgh Zoo’s young male koala, who will be making the return flight to Duisburg Zoo next week.
McGarry added: “Toorie will be missed by everyone here at Edinburgh Zoo, but we are proud to see him playing his part in the conservation of the species.”
Koala: The animal travelled on a Eurowings flight alongside other fliers
Gordon Dewar, Chief Executive of Edinburgh Airport, said: “We welcome passengers from all over the world to Edinburgh Airport but not all of them are as special or as cute as a koala!
“It was quite exciting to have Tanami arriving here and he joins a list of famous animals who have touched down here to make Edinburgh Zoo their new home.”
Koala numbers are in decline throughout the Eastern coast of Australia where they naturally occur.
The eucalyptus forests that koalas depend upon for survival are disappearing to make way for roads and housing.
When koalas move from one tree to another on the ground, they are very vulnerable to predators, including wild and domestic dogs, and many are hit by cars.
Koala: He needed the entire row to himself as the creatures are a sensitive breed
Koala: Images show him cuddling the man at the zoo
As well as being members of the managed breeding programme for Queensland koalas, the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland makes regular contributions to support conservation projects in Australia that help to rehabilitate sick and injured koalas and release them back into the wild.
Viewing will be restricted over the weekend while Tanami settles into his new home but visitors can look forward to seeing him in the coming weeks and months, Edinburgh Zoo said.
For those worried about hygiene levels when travelling, it’s recently emerged that flights could be spreading head lice through the seat cushions, according to experts.
Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has found an increase in head lice cases in the last five years, with 45 per cent of parents admitting they had caught them.
While planes are often cleaned between departures, a deep clean is something many do not see often. Pharmacist Shamir Patel, founder of online pharmacy Chemist-4-U, warned: “If the seat comes into contact with a passenger with head lice, it’s very probable that some of the bugs could linger in the headrest.”