Animal Diaries Archive
Koalas And Conservation
2 July 2004Our motto here at Australia Zoo is 'Conservation through exciting eduction'. We achieve this in many different ways; our daily shows, our new animal experiences, and through one-on-one interactions with animals provided by our wandering wildlife team. We are lucky enough to be able to rove a range of animals, from snakes to baby alligators to wombats, and my personal favourite, the koala. I would like to take this opportunity to teach you a little more about some of the conservation issues koalas are facing in the wild.
Unfortunately, we are currently the largest threat to the koala, not only because we continue to replace koala homes with our own, but also because we fragment any remaining eucalypt forests by building roads through the middle of them. The number of injured koalas arriving at our new Koala Hospital is testimony to the impact of this conflict between koala and man. Dogs further threaten koalas that do manage to brave the urbanised world and take up residence in the few trees left in our backyards. To put things in a bigger perspective, some experts have estimated that if the rate of habitat destruction continues at the current speed, then koalas will be extinct on the east coast within 15 years. For such a cute and loveable Australian icon, that would be disaster.
Don't think that because the problem exists on such a large scale you can't do anything to make a difference. Probably the easiest way you can help is to simply go out and plant a few eucalypt species that are food trees in an identified koala habitat. If you feel like getting a bit more involved, then why not write a letter to your local government asking for greater protection of our eucalypt forests? If you are lucky enough to still share your home with koalas, then help by keeping your dogs locked up at night. Koala breeding season is also about to begin, so please be a little more vigilant when driving, particularly at dusk and dawn. Finally, perhaps the best way to help is to join us here at Australia Zoo and become a Wildlife Warrior by donating to the Steve Irwin Conservation Foundation. So next time you visit us, make sure you keep your eyes open for our cute and cuddly koalas out and about with the wandering wildlife team.
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