Koala hunt, Toormina
March 7, 2013
Our guide points out Tallowwood and Swamp Mahogany, the koalas’ favourite food trees then Wyn spots a young one having a quick scratch then back dozing high in a Bloodwood. Koalas are an example of Australia’s unique fauna. Our guide explains they have a metre long appendix, eat over a kilo of leaves each night then sleep for up to 19 hours. They browse several trees in rotation called home trees visiting these same trees regularly. He shows us a photograph of a truck piled high with koala skins. An estimated 800,000 were killed that year in Queensland alone.
We’ve heard a male squealing like a speared pig in search of a mate in Jagun Nature Reserve that backs onto our garden and have seen some in the area, always alone. Australia has the worst mammal extinction rate of all and the future of koalas here in the Mid North Coast, with such fragmented habitat from development and so many cars and dogs, appears bleak. In serious decline in NSW and Queensland, populations thrive in Victoria and South Australia but are a different sub-species using different food trees. I have no desire to hold one, tame one or live with one, I just want them to survive in healthy populations.
A truck loaded with 3,600 koala skins collected in the Clermont area in one month, 1927. The John Oxley library.