Fact Check

Were 20 Koalas Rescued from an Animal Brothel in Australia?

Reports that koalas and other animals are being sex trafficked in Australia are fake news.

Published Jan 5, 2017

Australian authorities saved 20 koalas from what is believed to be one of several underground animal brothels in the area.

On 30 December 2016 the World News Daily Report web site site republished a June 2015 article reporting that 20 koalas had been rescued from an animal brothel in Australia:

Australian Federal agents cracked down on unsuspecting party goers in a privately owned petting zoo yesterday where more than 40 arrests were made over allegations of bestiality and animal cruelty, reports the Western Australian Herald this morning.

Suspected for sometime by local authorities of running a petting zoo functioning as an underground animal brothel, where clients paid for sexual services with the animals, the 67-year old farm owner was arrested with two of his sons and some 30 guests who were present for an all-night party.

The purported plight of the sex-trafficked koalas tugged at the heartstrings of social media users, both when the article was first published in 2015 and again when it was recirculated some eighteen months later. However, there was never any truth to the story, which was fabricated by the World News Daily Report (WNDR) fake news site.

As with many other articles on the site, WNDR's "koala brothel" story used an old and unrelated news image of a terror raid in Australia from 2014.

Kim LaCapria is a former writer for Snopes.