koala
animals, environment

Koala Spotting

You know you are in Australia when you see a Koala in a tree! Australia’s unique marsupial is so specialized it only eats from around four species of Eucalypt trees. And it needs about 1 kilogram of them every day!

Koalas rescued during the South Australian bushfires Photograph: Adam Mudge/A

Koalas are super cute but they are endangered, and vulnerable to extinction and may potentially become extinct due to habitat loss, disease, limited interbreeding due to a declining population and more recently, significant bushfires in their natural habitat. At least 8000 koalas are thought to have died in the fires. We don’t know the real extent of loss.

Photograph: Eden Hills Country Fire Service/Facebook

We had koalas in our backyard trees, when I was a child, as we had tall Eucalypt trees. We had two males that were on the prowl looking for a mate, and were resting peacefully when the ranger came to collect them and take them back to the bush.

James Tremain, a spokesman for the NSW Nature Conservation Council, said in November that koala decline has been happening “slowly and silently.. and that Koala numbers have plunged over the past 20 years. According to the federal threatened species scientific committee koala numbers in two states have dropped 42% between 1990 and 2010.”

Guardian Australia

This is significant. How can a species, so specialized, stage a comeback when their food source, their only food source, is continually being cut down without replenishment? Residential areas that are cleared and developed, are not replanted with Eucalypt trees because they are too tall, continually drop branches and leaves and too large for back yards.

We have at least one resident koala in our estate – and we only have a few tall tress in the small Eco Zone between two large sporting fields and an estate of houses (without Eucalypt trees).So what will that wild koala go and what will they eat?

Can you see the koala?

Photograph – Facebook

Koala Facts

Koalas need oodles of sleep – around 18 hours. You would too, if you ate only one type of food all day, every day! That is why most of the time they are spotted in trees, they are sleeping.

You might be wondering how it survives on just gum leaves, as the oils in the leaves are quite poisonous. The Koalas have adapted to this specialized niche in the ecosystem, by having a very long digestive organ which allows them to break down the leaves and up til know were easily found throughout much of Eastern Australia. I spotted a few koalas on Stradbroke Island a few years ago.

The infant koala is called a Joey and it is pretty useless when it is born. Blind and earless when born the joey must use its strong sense of touch and smell, as well as natural instinct, to find its way into the pouch or face death. Being a marsupial it requires extended antenatal care that amounts to six to twelve months in its mother’s pouch, where it continues to grow and develop. After the first six months, the young koala will ride around on its Mother’s back until it reaches maturity.

I am kind of glad I am not a mumma koala!

Help for Koalas

Please support organizations that fund 24/7 care of wild koalas in trouble

Pine Rivers Koalacare – a registered Charity

More rescue organizations that assist Australian Wildlife

39 thoughts on “Koala Spotting”

  1. It’s so sad what’s happening in Australia… or at least what we can read about it here in Europe! Today the headlines in Spain called Australia the “ground cero of climate change”. Sounds pretty scary!!
    About the koalas… I hope they can be helped as the Iberian lynx or the brown bear in Spain. There have been huge efforts to reintroduce them in their old natural habitats and now, slowly, very very slowly, populations are growing.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. How fantastic it must be to say ‘we have a koala on our estate’. But surely not a natural place for them to be? And I imagine much of the problem is the flammability of eucalypts, Amanda? In Portugal many have been cut down for that reason. Maybe a reserve, with plentiful trees, but not a threat to humans, to encourage breeding? A sad world it would be, without koalas.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is hard to reserve habitat that large to support a viable breeding population as developers clear land for housing – one of two things that keeps our economy afloat. National parks are great and some larger properties have koala fences but in a fire they die behind the fences that are yet to protect them from roadkill.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. It is a natural place to be, Jo, but there are better natural places where three is more food supplies. We had then enter our yard as a child. They are mostly males looking for a partner.

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  3. I read this earlier but it hurts my heart so much I had to come back to comment. The devastation to plant and animal life in our world is all but unbearable. There is nothing else I can say. It’s good some are proactively trying to help.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I can see that sometimes the content of a post can be upsetting. It is a very emotional subject and koalas are just so innocent it tugs out our heart strings. However, if we don’t speak about them or write about them, they go unnoticed and so it is important to speak about. Then it must be followed by action to be of any use. If one person assists or becomes more aware and spreads the word – then it is worth posting. Having said that, I am sorry to make you sad, Marlene.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You are right to write about them. I’m so happy to see some take matters into their own hands to protect what remains of such vulnerable creatures of the planet. I feel very strongly about the injury to any life form even what we do to one another. I have a hard time steeling myself against the pains of the planet. I get worked up about the historical aspect of the harm we do as well. I’m glad you are there to bring it to light in a gentler way than I could. I’d be swinging a sledge hammer at those that let this happen. Hopefully, some good will come from this. The world is changing is ways we can’t even imagine yet. Hold on to your hat. I just wanted you to understand the lag between ‘liking’ your post and leaving a comment. I get very emotional and have to curb myself so it’s best to wait a moment. I would gladly pay for a tree for those sweet creatures to live in but in the meantime, what will they eat? If we each in this world bought a seedling or small tree, we could reforest sooner. I’d better stop now. Thanks for sharing this. Hugs.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. It breaks everyone’s heart that we may lose this gorgeous and benign creature from the wild. Three us only so much we can do, especially now after the decimation of the fires, but they are worth fighting for!!

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  4. I am heading to East London tomorrow and will be on the road all day. We are going away for motor racing and will have limited access to the internet while I am gone. Please forgive me if I don’t reply to comments straight away. I will be back at work on the 5th of August for a couple of hours before I start a week-long celebration of my 50th birthday.

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