G’DAY Y’ALL! Two New Furry Aussies Coming to Louisville

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (May 30, 2024) – Two new Australians are making their way to Louisville — say “G’day y’all” to Dharuk and Telowie! The two male koalas will be coming from the San Diego Zoo in California. Dharuk and Telowie join the Louisville Zoo family indefinitely as part of an agreement with the Australian government. They will arrive later this June.

Dharuk, a 2-year-old, is named after an extinct Aboriginal language of the blue mountains, pronounced “da’ rook.” Meanwhile, 4-year-old Telowie (“tell ou-ee”), is named for the saltbush plant in Australia and means “old man saltbush by the waterhole.”

The two will take up residence at the foot of Glacier Run alongside fellow Australian species. Their abode is a renovated habitat near Lorikeet Landing that previously housed snowy owls and later, the Zoo’s red panda.

Louisville Zoo Director, Dan Maloney, previously served at the Melbourne Zoo in Australia and is excited to bring koalas back to Louisville. Koalas were temporarily featured at the Zoo during the 1980s and again in the early 2000s.

“Koalas are fantastic ambassadors for Australia, representing a truly unique species,” Maloney said. “I am excited to see families experience our friends from the ‘Land Down Under’!”

Following their arrival, the two koalas will go undergo a standard 30-day quarantine period in their prepared space, enabling them to be on exhibit sooner than the usual duration. Once on exhibit, they will be housed separately, as koalas are territorial and solitary in the wild.

Zoo guests will likely see the two new residents sleeping most days. Koalas almost exclusively eat eucalyptus leaves. This plant provides low-quality nutrition that takes time for koalas to process for energy. The eucalyptus that Dharuk and Telowie consume will be from one of just two eucalyptus farms in the U.S., both dedicated to supplying zoos.

The word “koala” is believed to originate from the Dharug language, spoken by Aboriginal people in Australia. “Koala” means “no drink,” which may be a reference to the marsupial’s low water intake. These animals stay hydrated through the water content in the eucalyptus leaves that form the bulk of their diet.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List of Threatened species lists koalas as decreasing in the vanishing wild. The two main threats for koalas are human development and subsequent habitat destruction. 


Zoo Hours

The Zoo is open daily year-round. Spring/summer hours are 10 a.m. ─ 5 p.m. (stay until 6 p.m.). The Zoo is closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day. The Zoo will close early on Friday, June 7, enter 10 a.m. – 2p.m. (exit by 3 p.m.). Visit louisvillezoo.org for more info.


The Louisville Zoo, the State Zoo of Kentucky, is the top, non-profit, paid attraction in the state. The Zoo is dedicated to bettering the bond between people and our planet by providing excellent care for animals, a great experience for visitors, and leadership in scientific research and conservation education. The Zoo is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA).

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