koalas

Koala eatingKoalas

Very few Australians realise that our iconic koalas are a species in crisis.  If we keep losing koalas at the present rate, there is a very real possibility that they could become extinct within the next 20 years. Extinction is forever!

Koalas are found in eucalypt forests around the eastern and south-eastern coasts of Australia. The majority of koalas live on private property and therefore there is no formal protection of this habitat.

The extensive destruction of habitat – including urbanization – has directly resulted in a dramatic drop in koala numbers.

Koala and baby koalaOf the hundreds of koala patients the Australian Wildlife Hospital treats each year, the main causes of harm are motor vehicle accidents, habitat destruction, domestic dog attacks and diseases triggered by nutritional stress and starvation.

Bushfires are also a major threat, displayed earlier this year in Victoria after a bushfire ravaged Framlingham Forest and claimed the lives of approximately 4,500 koalas in that one area alone. Click here to see a video of Sam the koala, one of the lucky survivors of the bushfires.

Wildlife Warriors has recently commenced a new research project to learn more about koalas that are rehabilitated and returned to the wild – to understand their migration patterns and ability to re-establish home ranges so that, ultimately, we can work more effectively to ensure their survival.

Wildlife Warriors and a veterinary honours student from the University of Queensland will co-ordinate the tracking project by releasing and monitoring the movements of 12 young, hand-raised male and female koalas, fitted with collars designed to emit a unique tracking frequency that will be picked up by a radio receiver.

Once the tracking period ends, the data will be collated and the koalas will be recaptured to remove their radio-collars prior to release back into their natural habitat. 

Wildlife Warriors know that the biggest threats to the survival of koalas are also their only saviours – humans – and the time to act is now.

To learn more about the koala tracking project visit www.wildlifewarriors.org.au

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