Koalas can be elusive creatures to spot in the Australian bush. They often rest at great heights above the world that we know, and go unseen as we lope past their favourite food tree.
In recent years, koalas in most parts of the country have become even harder to find. Koalas in the wild lose their habitat every day through tree clearing, which further fragments their home range and movement corridors; and sadly this increases their risk of fatality through vehicle collision and dog attack. A range of other factors contribute to what, in many parts of Australia, is a rapidly declining koala population, these include: disease, drought and fire.
Localised extinctions are a real and present danger for koala populations that are located in areas where their already marginal habitat converges with expanding urban development, mining, and agriculture.
The issues faced by koala populations differ around the country; however there are some key actions that we can all do to help.
WE CAN ALL HELP KOALAS!
Tie up your dog
- Sadly our beloved pet dogs can kill koalas. Even small dogs are capable of delivering fatal injuries upon an encounter with a koala. Whenever koalas are present on your property, or whilst you are out walking, make sure that you restrain your pooch! Do not allow your dog to roam, especially at night.
- If you know somebody with a dog that lives in an area where koalas live, tell them to be a responsible pet owner.
- Let’s show some respect for our wildlife, and live with them in harmony.
Keep and plant food trees!
- Whether in your own backyard or in a local reserve, every native tree that you plant can make a difference for our wildlife. Possums, gliders, owls and many other species inhabit the same types of trees that koalas also use.
- Visit your local nursery and ask about which koala food trees are suitable for your area. Koalas enjoy a variety.
- Join your local bushcare group, and become a custodian of the bush in your neighbourhood (talk to your local Council to find one near you).
- Planting trees for wildlife provides habitat for them, and will make you feel great!
Protect koala habitat
- Write to, or call your local, state or federal political representative, if you have concerns for koalas, and tell them how important it is to keep our koalas.
- Click here to find your federal Member of Parliament
- Click here to find your State Member of Parliament if you live in Victoria
- Click here to find your State Member of Parliament if you live in the ACT
- Click here to find your State Member of Parliament if you live in New South Wales
- Click here to find your State Member of Parliament if you live in South Australia
- Click here to find your State Member of Parliament if you live in Queensland
Found a sick or injured koala?
- In QLD? Call 1300 ANIMAL (1300 264 625) – http://www.rspcaqld.org.au/AnimalEmergencies
- In NSW? Call 13 000 WIRES – (13 00 094 737) – http://www.wires.org.au/emergency/injured-animalemergency.html
- In ACT? Call 13 22 81 – http://rspca-act.org.au/wildlife/
- In VIC? Call 13 000 94535 – http://www.wildlifevictoria.org.au/
- In SA? Call (08) 8289 0896 – http://www.faunarescue.org.au/home.htm
- Check out our Injured and Orphaned Animal Guide – http://www.bobirwinwildlife.com/injured-and-orphaned-animal-guide/
Support your local wildlife rescue and carers group
- There are wildlife rescue and care groups around Australia that give their all to the rehabilitation of our native wildlife. Much of the work that they do is voluntary and done for the love of our critters. These groups are often under-resourced and unfortunately also over-worked!
- Join your local group and assist them with the great work that they do.
- Support them with financial and other donations where you can.
Drive carefully when the sun goes down
- Slow down! Many of Australia’s native animals are nocturnal, and are more active at night. So, when you see a wildlife crossing sign please slow down and be alert for any animals that may cross the road.
Talk to your friends and family about koalas and other wildlife
- Sometimes just having a discussion about the natural environment can cause change. If we can raise the public awareness of the plight of our koala, this will lead to more people doing great work to protect koalas and their habitat!
Make sure you join KoalaTracker – Australia’s national koala map and database, to see where koalas are in your neighbourhood, and remember to report every sighting, death and injury to www.KoalaTracker.com.au.
The koala is our most iconic Australian animal, if we protect them and their habitat, together we will maintain the biodiversity of natural areas and the survival of many other species!