The Koala Bear
Koala bears are not bears at all. In fact they are related to wombats and opossums and are actually marsupials.
The name koala comes from an Aboriginal word meaning ‘no drink’ and it rarely does so. Koalas live in the topmost branches of Eucalyptus trees and eat the leaves and shoots. It consumes over 1kg a day.
Koala fur is different colours in different parts of Australia.
During the breeding season a male koala will gather several females to his small harem and guard them closely from rivals.
After 34-36 days gestation, there is normally only one baby born. It measures only 2cm in length and weighs a mere 0.5g. The tiny creature climbs into its mother’s pouch, and stays there for 5 or 6 months. It then leaves and rides ‘piggy back’ for another 5 or 6 months, and its mother feeds it with partly digested food.
The koala is independent by 11 months, but may still live close by its mother for a further few months.
There are less than 80,000 koalas in the wild. The population of the Australian Koala has dropped by 90% in less than a decade.
In the early days of European settlers, millions were shot and often used for their skins. Also, the Koala has lost much of its habitat through logging, agriculture and urban development. Since Europeans settled in Australia, it has lost 80% of its eucalyptus forests. Most of the remaining 20% is not protected. Other modern threats include cars and dogs.Read More: Credits