The Newman Government will mark the 30th anniversary of the sister-state relationship with Japan’s Saitama Prefecture with a state gift of koalas for the Saitama Children’s Zoo.
Premier Campbell Newman, who is in Japan leading a trade delegation, said the gift was unique and extended the goodwill shared between the two regions.
“Since the sister-state relationship started in 1984, there have been many exchanges in areas such as education and the economy; sharing our unique wildlife will be something for Saitama residents and visitors alike to enjoy for years to come,” Mr Newman said.
“The Governor of the Saitama Prefecture, Mr Kiyoshi Ueda, wrote to me personally in May this year asking the Queensland Government to consider supplying koalas to mark the 30th anniversary of the sister-state relationship.
“Yesterday I was delighted to inform him, in person, that in 2014, the Queensland Government will indeed send koalas to the Saitama Children’s Zoo as a state gift.
“Koalas are a big drawcard for the zoo, and the new koalas will give zoo visitors a better understanding of our unique wildlife and possibly encourage them to come out and see Queensland for themselves.”
In the 1980s Queensland gifted koalas to Japan as a symbol of friendship, however over the years it has become increasingly difficult to find pairs suitable for mating.
Environment Minister Andrew Powell said the koala transfer to Saitama Prefecture would help ensure the genetic sustainability of Japan’s koala populations.
“Queensland koala experts will be heavily involved in the transfer process to ensure the safe passage of these unique gifts to Saitama,” Mr Powell said.
“This state gift is being planned in partnership with zoos in Queensland and we will work with the Saitama Prefecture Government to provide any support that might be needed in terms of animal husbandry.”
JOINT STATEMENT Premier The Honourable Campbell Newman Minister for Environment and Heritage Protection The Honourable Andrew Powell Friday, 27 September 2013