It's always exciting when new friends come to town to visit, and the John Ball Zoo in Grand Rapids is welcoming two special friends for the summer who are here from San Diego to educate us about their way of life.

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A special summer exhibit is now open at John Ball Zoo: showcasing a pair of koalas.

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Noorundi (who is 4 years old) and Iluka (who is 2 years old) arrived last week in Grand Rapids. According to officials at the John Ball zoo, they are acclimating well to their new home in West Michigan.

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The two koalas are both adult males. Noorundi’s name means “darkness” in Latin because his fur was a dark shade when he was born, while Iluka's name translates to “near the sea.” Since we have two male Koalas visiting, they will be kept in a room with a cage between them. Male Koalas tend to be territorial, therefor they must kept separate so that they're happy.

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According to WOODTV, Jamie Racalla, who is a supervising zookeeper at the John Ball Zoo, spent three weeks at the San Diego Zoo. She worked with staff to learn how to handle properly and care for the animals, so they would have a quality experience while they're visiting West Michigan for the summer. As the Koalas are getting accustomed to their new home, a team from San Diego will continue to stay in West Michigan for a couple of weeks in order to supervise and make sure our new koala friends make a smooth transition.

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If you'd like to visit (and meet) our two visiting friends, they will be hanging out at the John Ball Zoon from now through labor day weekend, and you can get tickets and info on their website.

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