Animal Diaries Archive
Protecting your backyard
28 September 2007
In my last diary entry, I mentioned that wild koalas can actually be sighted in residential areas. Yes, it's true, koalas still live in areas in which the land around them has been built out by houses and roads. This poses some extra challenges for the koalas as they navigate their way around their habitat. Not only do they have to evade natural predators such as wild dogs, foxes and snakes, but they also must contend with crossing busy roads, climbing over fences and dodging domestic pets such as dogs and cats.
Koalas have poor eyesight and little sense of spatial awareness. When they travel on the ground, they simply follow their sense of smell to get to the next gum tree, and they will take the most direct route to get there, even if there is a brick wall or two in the way. We all must remember that these little Aussies were living here long before we were. Since we now co-exist in the same habitat, it's only fair that we look out for their well being as well as our own.
Here are a few things you can do to help these little Aussies on their way:
- Keep your pet dogs and cats inside your house at night time.
- Place a large rope in your swimming pool, and secure one end to a solid object outside the pool, to enable the koala to climb out.
- Build koala friendly fencing, either with materials that can be climbed (i.e. timber), or with a gap in the bottom to allow small animals to pass underneath.
- When you are driving, stick to the speed limit and keep your eyes peeled along the sides of the road for any animals that may be trying to cross.
- Try not to cut down trees. Not only do they provide great shelter from the hot sun, they can also be home to thousands of different native animals, most of which you would never know even existed in your backyard.
- If you do have to cut down a tree, then replace it by planting a new one. In fact, plant as many as you can! Most local councils offer free saplings or other incentives to help you plant trees.
One last thing you can do is to take a minute and look at some of the gorgeous faces of Australia Zoo's koala colony, who are all doing their bit to create public awareness for the conservation of this iconic species in the wild.
Our Amazing Koalas
Koalas vary in size and colour depending on where they live in Australia. Koalas found in the southern distributions (Southern NSW and Victoria) tend to be ...more