Longleat Safari Park says the remaining koalas in its conservation project are “incredibly strong”, even though one animal died earlier this year.
In October 2018, five southern koalas were flown to the UK, as part of plans to create a back-up population away from the diseases and threats they face in their native Australia.
Within a few weeks, one female became sick with a kidney disease and the park said it had no choice but to put her down.
The Born Free Foundation argues the scheme isn’t viable with such a small number of koalas and says it is just a money-making ploy.
But Longleat says the project is contributing to research that helps koalas in the wild, and some of the profits will go directly into conserving koalas.
The koala enclosure opens to the public on Friday.
Longleat: Koala conservation scheme ‘working despite death’