An iconic Australian marsupial, Koalas occur from the tip of topical Queensland, down the east coast of Australia to Victoria and South Australia.

By Diliff (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons
By Diliff (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons

Due to hunting, bush fires, drought, and destruction of habitat from agriculture or urbanisation, Koala populations have dropped significantly over the past century leading to them being listed as a Vulnerable Species in the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 in Queensland and New South Wales in 2012.

The Koala diet consists mainly of the leaves from a small number of Eucalyptus species, providing a high fibre, low-protein food source. Koalas feed often, as they are unable to store excess energy as fat. They rely on a slow metabolism and conservation of energy through sleep and resting. Koalas generally feed for two to four hours every day, usually in the evening, or in drier climates, in the morning to collect moisture from the dew on leaves.

Koalas generally show a preference for younger foliage, as it usually contains more nitrogen, moisture, and sugars than older, mature foliage. The palatability of certain species depends a lot on the available nutrient in the soil, as trees growing in poor nutrient areas tend to produce compounds in their leaves that deter feeding as a protection for their foliage.

Eucalyptus punctata (Grey Gum) - One of the Koala's favourite food sources.
Eucalyptus punctata (Grey Gum) – One of the Koala’s favourite food sources.

Koalas are relatively sedentary and localised in their movement. Females generally require a minimum 1 hectare of good quality habitat in areas of high soil fertility and good rainfall, while males require a minimum of 2 hectares.

Koalas are asocial animals, the only bonding occurring between the mother and offspring (known as joeys) up to the age of 20-36 months when the young disperse to find their own homes. Male Koalas communicate with loud bellows to intimidate rivals and attract females. They also mark their territory with secretions from a scent gland located on their chests.

Koalas usually live up to 10 years for males, and 12 years for females.

Creating a Koala Sanctuary

Koala Food Trees

Primary Food Source

Secondary/Supplementary Food Source

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