It is still ten years until the Australian metropolis of Brisbane hosts the Olympic Games – but the search for a suitable mascot has already begun.

According to media reports, the koala is currently the favourite for the Summer Games from 23 July to 8 August 2032. The marsupial was recently classified as “highly endangered” in large parts of the country by the Ministry of the Environment.

“In 2032 and even before, the eyes of the world will be on us,” Australian broadcaster ABC quoted Cameron Costello of the Queensland Tourism Industry Council as saying on Monday. This is a great opportunity to focus the world’s attention on Australia’s endangered species, he said.

Public gets to decide

Queensland Environment Minister Stirling Hinchliffe, on the other hand, brought up the ibis. He has a weakness for the large birds with their long curved beaks, the politician said. Regional Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, however, already stressed that it was “highly unlikely” that the ibis would win the race. “But we will let the public decide.”

At the Sydney 2000 Olympics there were even three official mascots: Syd, Olly and Millie – a platypus, a kookaburra and an echidna. All three are endemic species in Australia.