We have traveled around the world since 2009, lived in many different countries, discovered new cultures, and been amazed at the native wildlife. When we arrived in Australia, we immediately fall in love with its flora and fauna. It is unique and valuable.
Australia is famous for big things like the giant banana, prawn, guitar, so on, and unique animals such as koala, echidna, platypus, wombat, Tasmania devil, etc. Among all these unique animals, the koalas, wombat, and kangaroo are my favorites.
Today, we are going to talk about the Koala. Koala bear is an arboreal marsupial native to Australia. The Koala is found in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, and South Australia. It is easily recognizable. However, the Koala population is in catastrophic decline and is listed as a vulnerable species in eastern Australia.
The decline was a long time coming. The fur trade was the first to decimate the koala population. Between 1890 and 1927, more than 8 million pelts were exported to England, according to research compiled by the Australian Koala Foundation.
Habitat loss followed. Eucalyptus groves were bulldozed for suburbs. People moved in. If the koalas were not killed by cars when crossing roads, they would be found dangling in the jaws of pet dogs.
Then came chlamydia, thought to have crossed over to koalas from imported sheep and cattle. The marsupials are keenly susceptible to sexually transmitted diseases, especially when stressed by other factors. More than 50 percent of koalas exhibit symptoms in some areas, which can often prove fatal in their late stages. Therefore, climate change and heat stress are the latest in a series of unfortunate events for the vulnerable koala.
In summer 2019/2020, Australia suffered the worst bushfires ever. We lived it too. It was heartbroken and terrifying to see all that devastation.
So, before COVID-19 and after fire season, we could travel a little bit throughout the eastern Australian coast. We went to Koala Hospital in Port Macquarie to meet them and know their work, and the most important thing was how we could help. We “adopted” a Koala called Ocean Summer. You also can help, click here to see how.
However, with climate change and high-frequency fire only likely to increase, there are significant challenges for the longer-term survival. For many populations, the chances of recovery are unlikely. Considering the species’ low reproductive output and their need for long inter-fire intervals for healing, the risk of extinction is both immediate and significant for the koala population in the forests and woodlands of NSW, Queensland, Victoria, and South Australia. That’s why it’s so crucial that national environment laws are strengthened to protect koalas and all threatened species.