Australia’s four koala envoys - Paddle, Pellita, Chan and Idalia - have returned home to Brisbane’s Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, following their successful stay at Singapore Zoo. 

Our koalas charmed almost one million visitors during their ten month visit where they were cared for in a purpose built koala exhibit.

Australia provided the four koalas to Singapore last year as our gift to mark the 50th anniversary of Australia-Singapore relations and Singapore’s 50th year of independence. 

Australia has been ranked sixth globally for soft power diplomacy* and initiatives such as our “Koala Diplomacy” demonstrate the potential to strengthen diplomatic relations and generate goodwill among the broader Singaporean public.

Singapore Zoo ran an array of public activities including a competition to select local nicknames for the koalas (Nila, Manja, Cantik and Sayang).

The estimated advertising value of global coverage of the Koala Diplomacy initiative across 189 media outlets is around $4 million, with a combined estimated audience of more than 1 billion people worldwide.

I thank Qantas Airways for its outstanding efforts in transporting the koalas and delivering fresh eucalyptus, and Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary for providing the koalas and sharing their expertise with Singapore Zoo.

Singapore is one of Australia’s most important international partners. Last year we formalised a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership to further deepen our cooperation and collaboration with Singapore over the next decade to boost trade, investment, jobs and economic growth.

*Source: Portland Communications, The Soft Power 30: A Global Ranking of Soft Power (2015)

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