Koalas to cuddle G20 leaders

Koalas at Brisbane’s Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary are in training to be cuddled by world leaders before the G20 Summit.

What do Barack Obama, Angela Merkel and Vladimir Putin have in common? That’s right – they’ll all have the opportunity of being hugged by a koala during their visit to Brisbane this month.

Koalas from Brisbane’s Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary are in training for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be cuddled by the world leaders when they arrive for the G20 Summit in two weeks.

Queensland is the most popular place for visitors to get up close and personal with koalas, and the 100 or more at Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary are no strangers to cosying up to celebrities whihc have included John Travolta, Mariah Carey and more.

Karen Nilsson, Head Koala Keeper at the sanctuary says that koalas will have to have time off from hugging duty. “As young trainees, the koalas don’t do any more than 10 minutes, even as an adult they won’t be held for more than half an hour a day and after three days they have to have a day off where they are not held at all,” she says.

Koalas’ diets consist mainly of eucalyptus leaves, but because the leaves don’t contain much energy, koalas must spend between 18 – 20 hours per day resting and sleeping to conserve their energy.

And it isn’t just the koalas who will receive special training for the big day. The world leaders will also be given tips on how to properly hold koalas.

Karen’s number-one tip for holding a koala is to pretend that you’re a tree. “That’s what koalas are used to seeing. When you are holding a koala stay nice and still, give them good support on their bottom so they know they are not going to fall,” she says.

Maybe some pre-summit cuddle time will make these world leaders a little more affable with each other later on.

What do you think? Would you like to see Barack Obama, Angela Merkel or Vladimir Putin cuddle a koala? If you’ve ever cuddled a koala do you have a hot tip for the G20 leaders? 


    To make a comment, please register or login
    Polly Esther
    7th Nov 2014
    You've left an opening for that question, "just how much can a teddy bear?
    Is it any wonder they're eucy addicts.
    No, I can't wait to see Tone the groan and Vlad the lad doing the old shirt front polka.
    7th Nov 2014
    I'd prefer to see them hugging taipans!
    7th Nov 2014
    Tip 1 - wear a raincoat.
    9th Nov 2014
    Mum said You should always Dampen the clothes before Ironing ??
    7th Nov 2014
    May I make this request to all world leaders: either stop arguing and realize all people and animals alike will suffer dreadfully if you start a war or tell us what planet you are planning to go to in order to survive and make room for us on the spaceship you have secretly hidden away.
    7th Nov 2014
    Oh pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeessssssssssssee! I hope the koala's give them a good claw. Animals are not for entertainment. I hope the very least they think of donating money to 'save the koala' foundation because they will slowly become extinct in the wild especially in Queensland. Doesn't anyone realize how endangered they are. I use to love seeing koala's but now I have to visit a conservation sanctuary to see one.
    7th Nov 2014
    good idea musicveg, they should PAY, and handsomely, to hold a koala
    9th Nov 2014
    I thought We Were Broke ??

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