MANILA – During the recent G20 meeting in Brisbane, world leaders unanimously agreed to have their photos taken with koalas.
The Australian government arranged a fuzzy and warm welcome for some of the world’s powerful leaders as part of their campaign dubbed “koala diplomacy.”
Even US President Barack Obama could not help himself but cuddle the koalas as the world’s press snapped photos. Others followed his suit including Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, Russian President Vladimir Putin, China’s First Lady Peng Liyuan, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and Managing Director of International Monetary Fund (IMF) Christine Lagarde.
Al Mucci, the handler of the koala bears from Dreamworld wildlife park, said that the main reason why they brought the koalas to the summit is about ramping up the awareness about the decrease in their numbers.
“As an Australian, I am proud of the fact that we are hosting the G20 and I’m proud that today we can share the koala story,” said Mucci. “Koalas and people aren’t learning to live together and their population is dropping. We want to share that with the global community that more help is required to make sure that the people and koalas live together for another 200 years here in Australia.”
Koalas are not yet listed as endangered. But they are considered “vulnerable.” As a matter of fact, there have been efforts to increase their population especially in the coming years.