The Koala: cuddly and tenacious

Barbara10Broek By Barbara10Broek, 30th Nov 2010 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Guides>Science>Nature

The Koala is Australia's popular mascot. It has survived a turbulant history.

Koala

The koala has a slow of breeding rate, producing a baby only once every two years. It is susceptible to disease and has a relatively small brain for an animal of its size. It's a fussy eater usually eating only the leaves of certain species of eucalyptus, and consumes about 3 pounds of leaves every day. And all the time its habitat is being reduced by the encroachments of man. Yet, despite all these apparent barriers to success, it manages to thrive.

When white settlers first arrived in Australia in 1788, they did not see many koalas, the animal having been widely hunted for food by the aborigines. But the new Australians were not interested in eating it, and, left to itself around the settlements along the eastern coast, it became quite common.

What eventually aroused interest in the koala was its soft, silky fur. Early this century, hundreds of thousands of them were slaughtered each year for their skins. 2 million pelts were shipped to Europe and America in 1924 alone, shortly before a policy of protection and re-introductions saved the day.

The koalas future seemed reasonably secure until the 1980s, when many populations became riddled with a dangerous sexually transmitted disease, chlamydiosis. This infection causes kidney damage in the koala and can lead to infertility. So maybe koalas were infected that scientists started to predict the extinction of the species.

But these fears proved groundless, the majority of koalas succeeded in breeding despite their infection. Koala's, old and young, are able to tolerate their, chlamydiosis. Australia's popular marsupial mascot had once again escaped a threat that seemed to spell its doom.

Tags

Disease, Extinction, Fur, Koala, Marsupial, Over Hunted

Meet the author

author avatar Barbara10Broek
Professional Librarian and freelance writer. Home Page: http://barbaratenbroekfreelancewriter.yolasite.com/

Share this page

moderator johnnydod moderated this page.
If you have any complaints about this content, please let us know

Comments

author avatar aesoplado
30th Nov 2010 (#)

They look cuddly! I see Koala bear documentaries on National Geographic once in a while and they say these are gentle animals.

Reply to this comment

author avatar Barbara10Broek
30th Nov 2010 (#)

I would love to visit Australia and see some of the sights

Reply to this comment

author avatar Angelique Newman
1st Dec 2010 (#)

Wonderful article Barbara. I love the Kuala bear and am relieved they're more resilient than thought. Thanks for sharing :)

Reply to this comment

author avatar Barbara10Broek
1st Dec 2010 (#)

Your welcome, I was surprised that hey had such a history.

Reply to this comment

author avatar Denise O
1st Dec 2010 (#)

Very interesting Barbara. Good job.
I never knew they were riddled with this disease.
Thank you for sharing.:)

Reply to this comment

author avatar Barbara10Broek
1st Dec 2010 (#)

It seems so sad that they are so sick

Reply to this comment

Add a comment
Username
Can't login?
Password