Tag Archives: koalas

You Yangs koala adult male face

Koala population decline in the You Yangs, Victoria

Awful, but hopeful.

In preparation for our first Koalas & Tree Planting community event on November 15, 2018 I felt that a graph would best show the decline in koala population. Little did I know how powerful that would be.

chart showing wild koala population decline over 11 years

This is a terrible graph, charting the premature deaths of many koalas. But it is also a hopeful graph.

Hopeful? What??

Yes, because in the You Yangs we now know we have a problem. And once a problem is known, action can be taken to fix it.

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The simple fact is that the same catastrophic declines are happening everywhere.  These findings are in line with WWF’s 2018 Living Planet Report, that shows a 60% decline in wild animal* populations worldwide.

But its hard to make decision-makers listen if you don’t have data.  Now we have data.  Now we are taking action.

At our Koalas & Tree Planting Event in Little River on November 15, 2018 we showed and explained these images, and others.  Learn how everyone can do something to save our koalas and turn this graph around.

See the presentation here.

An explanation of the graph

We started koala research in the You Yangs in January 2006 – ten years into the Millenium Drought: the worst drought in Australia’s history. The koalas had been suffering since 1996, and would not get any relief until 2010.

The first year of research gave us a foundation to work on, so by 2007 we had a clear picture of the population. We could already see that there were very few joeys being born.

As you can see, koala numbers fell significantly each year until 2010 when they plummeted. We lost one-third of our koalas over the summer of 2009-2010. Thankfully, the rain came in 2010 and gave us some relief.

chart showing wild koala population decline over 11 years

The next few years saw a return to near-normal rainfall conditions, and small increases to the koala population. But koalas living in poor habitat don’t breed that fast. Most of our females breed from age 2 to 8 years, and some only have a joey every second year. A few of our females don’t ever successfully breed at all.

Importantly, the trees have not recovered. The rains kept them alive, but weren’t enough to make them thrive again.

Here’s two pictures of the same River Red Gum tree, in 2008: 12 years into a drought (when you would think it would be at its worst); and in 2015: after 5 years of ‘normal’ rainfall.

And no, its not just that tree.  Take a walk in the You Yangs – the River Red Gums are in poor condition right across the park. See some other then and now pictures of the forest here.

comparison of River Red Gum tree in You Yangs from 2008 to 2015

Koalas suffer from poor tree condition long before we can see the tree is in poor condition.

The koalas and the trees of the You Yangs haven’t had time to return to pre-drought levels of fitness. And now, in 2018, we’re in another drought.

We have to act decisively to save the koalas of the You Yangs. The current trajectory is a recipe for local extinction.

….

What can we do?

We can’t make it rain.

But we do have a plan. Plant koala trees downhill in the river valleys and drainage lines of the Western Plains. It was koala habitat in the past, and could be again. Beside the rivers the soil is wetter than in the You Yangs. The correct local indigenous trees will grow fast there.

Read how we plant koala trees in “Koalas Need Farmers”

In addition, on hot days, wind blowing across waterholes and dams is cooler than the surrounding air. Trees along rivers and around waterholes and dams are highly preferred by koalas on hot days.

We can stop the local extinction of koalas in the You Yangs region. Act now.

We will run another Koalas & Tree Planting Event: contact us if you want to be invited.

koala clancy foundation tree planting near You Yangs Victoria

How did we get this data?

A koala research project started by Janine Duffy grew into a comprehensive research project involving 20 people monitoring +/- 43 koalas 310+ days a year. Around 3600 koala observations are taken every year. Funding for the project comes from a social enterprise tourism operation: Echidna Walkabout Nature Tours.

Echidna Walkabout’s Wild Koala Research Project is the only research on koalas in the You Yangs, and one of very few projects monitoring a natural (non-abundant) population of koalas in Victoria.

Read about our 2017 summary of Wild Koala Research in the You Yangs here.

REFERENCES & NOTES:

*vertebrate animals: mammals, reptiles, amphibians, fish and birds.

https://www.worldwildlife.org/pages/living-planet-report-2018

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2000s_Australian_drought

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Koalas do drink - wet koala in the rain

Do Koalas drink?

Koalas don’t drink, says the legend. But they do!

True, koalas drink in a slightly different way to most animals.

Koalas are arboreal – which means they live in trees. They do almost everything high in a tree. They mate, give birth, eat, urinate, defecate …. AND  drink in a tree.

When it rains, koalas do drink by licking the raindrops as they run down the trunks of gum-trees. Watch:

This sort of koala drinking works best on smooth-barked eucalyptus trees, for example River Red Gums, Yellow Gums and Blue Gums (Eucalyptus camaldulensis, E. leucoxylon & E. globulus/pseudoglobulus). It is possible that koalas move to these types of trees to drink when they expect rain.

Koala drinking also works best on vertical large branches and trunks, so that the rain pools and runs down into their mouths.

wild koala drinking by licking rain

We have watched koalas rush to get into a good position for drinking.

They also get more moisture from gum-leaves if they eat while its raining. We have seen that koalas are more likely to start feeding if its raining.

Their method of drinking relies on rain. Rain needs to be fairly consistent. Unfortunately in many parts of Australia rainfall is less consistent – some areas, like the You Yangs where these videos are taken, are experiencing record low rainfall, other regions are having floods.  Reliable rainfall is yet another casualty of climate change in Australia.

koala licking rain off tree

Koalas are thirsty. And not just in summer.

Research conducted by the University of Sydney has found that koalas will drink from water troughs mounted in trees, all year round.

Support Wild Koala Day on May 3. Share a koala post on social media. Tag #wildkoaladay. Call a politician. Show our governments that its time for them to act on climate change.

Koala wet from rain | Koalas do drink

LINKS:

http://www.wildkoaladay.com.au/

https://sydney.edu.au/news-opinion/news/2017/03/03/koalas-driven-to-drink-by-climate-change.html

 

About Koala Scent Glands

Male koalas have a scent gland in the middle of their chest.  The gland produces a strong-smelling oily substance that can be rubbed against trees to act as a marker for other koalas.

The scent gland appears to change over the koala’s life, and over the course of a year.

Here are some pictures we’ve collected over many years.

DOMINANT MALE KOALA SCENT GLANDS:

Both of these koalas were dominant males when these pictures were taken.  We don’t know if that makes any difference to the condition of their scent gland, but these pictures would certainly show the scent gland of a male in his prime.

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Anzac – dominant male for many years.  His scent gland shows an interesting central crease in both the pic above in early breeding season, and below in mid breeding season.

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The same male in April, after breeding season had ended.  His scent gland is appearing more furry and less prominent.

Read more about Koala Anzac here.

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The next pictures are of Winberry, who was also a dominant male in another part of the You Yangs for many years.  The pic was taken in late September, so technically non-breeding, but very close to breeding season.

Winberry has no central crease in his scent gland.

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Winberry again, the year before in April.  In both pics the scent gland area appears quite dry.

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Interestingly, both examples of dominant males show a dry, clean scent gland – both in and out of breeding season.  I can’t find any pictures of dominant males with sticky oily scent glands.  Perhaps I’ve missed them, or perhaps they have no need to over-produce discharge?

OTHER MATURE MALE SCENT GLANDS:

Below Benbo, an older mature male in early breeding season showing a slightly oily-looking scent gland.

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Below Gurren, middle of breeding season. His scent gland appears very oily sticky.  As far as we can tell, Gurren was a sub-dominant male at this time.

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SCENT GLANDS THROUGHOUT LIFE:

Koala Clancy is the one male we’ve monitored from pouch emergence to dominant male status.

Clancy below as an 18 month old juvenile.  His scent gland is there, but small. The pic was taken in the middle of breeding season, but the season might not make any difference to the scent gland of a juvenile.

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Clancy below as a four year old, in non-breeding season.  The scent gland is still quite small, but seems to be producing some oily discharge.

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Clancy as a 7 year old, in the non-breeding season just before he became dominant male. His scent gland is much larger than in the 4 year old pic above, but furred over and not appearing too oily.

Read more about Koala Clancy here.

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It is hard to draw conclusions from the above photographs, except that scent glands in younger males are smaller and seem to grow as they approach maturity.  Scent glands do appear dry at times, and oily at other times – but when and why is currently impossible for me to conclude.

Scent glands also appear to have distinctive shapes – Anzac’s was long, thin with a central crease; Winberry’s is more oval; Clancy’s is keyhole-shaped with a bulge below.

 

NOTES:

Echidna Walkabout’s Wildlife Guides and Koala Researchers find these wild koalas and take photographs and observations of them +/-310 days per year.

The koalas that have been given an age have been monitored since pouch emergence (Clancy) or for many years (Anzac – since 2007 & Winberry – since 2009), which gives us a reliable estimate of their age.

To support our research, please consider joining a 3 day Great Ocean Road, 1 day Sunset Koalas & Kangaroos or 1 day Koalas & Kangaroos IN THE WILD tour next time you are in Melbourne.  Over 50% of our profits are invested in this koala research.  Learn more about Echidna Walkabout’s Wild Koala Research here.

Anzac The Amazing

Written by Janine Duffy

We could tell that Anzac was amazing from the first minute. He met our tour group at the entrance gate of the You Yangs, as if to say “Welcome!”

That was 4th October 2007 and he was already a big mature male. We assumed he was 4 or 5 years old, but looking back now he was probably just a big, precocious 3 year old.

wild male koala You Yangs

For all of 2008 he hung around the entrance gate area, looking northwards to the prime koala habitat owned by dominant male Vegemite and female Mary. Then he made his move. On 5 March 2009 he went into Vegemite’s home range, then straight out again. On 13 May he was back, and this time he meant to stay.

Trouble was, Vegemite wasn’t ready to leave. So for three tense months these two huge males lived in the same home range. Vegemite was a rock. Anzac was a river. In time the river won – Anzac eroded Vegemite’s hold on the area.

By 18 August 2009 Anzac was the owner of the home range, and Vegemite had relocated southwards.

For a year there was peace in koala world.

But to be Anzac The Amazing, he couldn’t stay satisfied with one normal male home range. Anzac started to look east – to the home range of Merle.

Merle had been dominant male of his range since 2006. He was big, fit and mature. Smoky, her daughter Pat, and Karen lived in his home range. That’s quite a lot of females for one male, and Anzac might have been feeling lonely with only two females – Cloud and Aris.

dominant male koala melbourne

So sometime in August 2010 Anzac left his ladies and went across the road to Merle’s. This time he knew what he was doing, or maybe Merle had heard rumours and ran for his life – but either way, Anzac succeeded in taking over in less than a month.

2010 was Anzac’s year. He now owned two male home ranges, and had five females. His famous son Clancy was born in 2010 too.

mature male koala black and white

Anzac reigned supreme and unchallenged until 2017. That’s seven or eight years as a dominant male of not one, but two normal-sized home ranges. He fathered many joeys, and was still doing his best to re-populate the world with koalas in late 2016/early 2017. 

wild koalas mating You Yangs

That’s why we call him Anzac The Amazing.

We haven’t seen him for 3 months now, and we have to assume that he’s died at his post. His final triumph: he was never defeated.

He will live on in our memories and through his famous son: Koala Clancy (who looks a lot like him). Read more about our wild koala research here. 

7 year old male koala

Koala Clancy Foundation 

female-male-koala-sharing-tree

Koala Breeding Season part 2: The Ladies Take Action.

After hearing male koalas sing female koalas move towards the male of their choice for breeding.

Sometime from November to March, female koalas start to feel the urge to mate. They have heard us male koalas singing since the start of October – read Koala Breeding Season Part 1: Koala Song – and at a time of their choosing they go to the male they want.

Breeding season is the main time my researchers see a female koala move out of her home range. This movement can be substantial (over 1000metres) and is usually brief and not repeated. Female koalas can change their home range from time to time, but these movements are usually slight, repeated often and lead to a long-term boundary shift.

Contrary to popular belief that male koalas dominate mating, some female koalas in the You Yangs appear to instigate mating. They move out of their home range and into a male’s home range.

After that the mating ritual begins. More about that next time.

Here’s one example.

This is Misty, a 6 year old* female living wild in the You Yangs.

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Misty has had two joeys in the time we’ve known her: male Lluvia in February 2015 and female Cuddles, born February 2016. She didn’t have a joey in 2017.

Misty-female-koala-with-joey

Read about Misty’s dramatic first appearance, subsequent rescue and first joey here.

She has been known to Echidna Walkabout/Koala Clancy Foundation Researchers since January 2014. For that whole time she has been seen within this 27 hectare area.  Read about Misty here. 

female-koala-movements-breeding-season

Then suddenly on 15 October 2017 Misty is found 650m to the east, in the home range of male Bungaleenee.

If mating was her purpose, and she was successful, we will see a joey in Spring 2018.

Science doesn’t yet know what triggers a female to seek a mate. Koalas are induced ovulators, which means the egg is released after the female mates. So how does she know when its the right time?

We’ll just have to ask her!

Stay tuned with all the latest educational wild koala info by following me on Facebook or Instagram!

* Misty’s age is estimated.

All the information above is based on long-term, non-intrusive wild koala monitoring in the You Yangs Regional Park, Victoria by Koala Researchers employed by Echidna Walkabout & the Koala Clancy Foundation.  Read more here: https://koalaclancyfoundation.org.au/research/koala-research

https://koalaclancy.wordpress.com/2017/01/07/koala-breeding-season-part-1-koala-song/

https://www.instagram.com/koalaclancy/

https://www.facebook.com/koalaClancy/

https://koalaclancyfoundation.org.au/

Free promotion for koala charity events!

Your own website/s

This is the single most important place for your event. Your website is you, as far as the world is concerned. This is ours www.koalaclancyfoundation.org.au

Koala Clancy Foundation web page snapshot

Do not underestimate this. You will benefit from an event on your website long after the event has finished.

If you can’t edit your own website, get a new web designer who will teach you or use one of the free ones.  A website doesn’t have to look gorgeous to do a good job – a website that is regularly updated is more likely to be found on search engines.

Finally, all the other sites mentioned below will eventually expire your event – and anyone clicking on it won’t be able to find you. Your website is the only thing that will last, for as long as you do.

Other online sites

Eventbrite: fantastic site for setting up the event – it takes all the hard work out of ticketing an event. Easy to use, essentially free. Comes up high on search engines. Free options include confirmation and reminder emails. Best thing about this site is that other sites (heyevent, Evensi, Eventbu, 2Event.com) repost any event that appears on here without you having to do anything.
KCDeventbrite

Weekend Notes: one of the best ways to get bookings. Free listing for free or charity events under $50. Submit your event in their suggestion box, and a writer will usually write it up – takes about a week so get in early. Huge following.

Koala Conservation Day on weekendnotes

Gumtree: post a listing/ad for free. Comes up high on search engines. Haven’t had bookings from it, but have had good numbers of views.

CharityDOs: free listing for charity and not for profit events.

Eco Shout: are a nice group. They will post your events for free, but if you are doing a lot of them it would be nice to become a supporter for $40.

The Land Down Under: are also a supportive group. They have a directory Wild Wonders that lists all sorts of good organisations. Get in touch with Ros, she’s super helpful and will share your event or organisation.

National Parks sites: if your event is happening in a National Parks property you may be able to list it on their site. Parks Victoria have one. Check out requirements first – events over 100 people need a permit. Comes up high on search engines, and links from government websites give your website huge credibility.

Local government What’s On sites: Melbourne and Geelong have free listings for events in their area. Even if you don’t get a lot from it, having government links to your website helps your search ranking.

Media

Newspapers, radio, TV and magazines are really worthwhile sources of free publicity. The reach they have can be much larger than all the other sites here put together. Also, if they mention your website, it improves your search ranking enormously.

Don’t be frightened of them – they want real stories from local people. Start off with your local newspaper and community radio. Find the journalist/presenter that sounds like they might be interested and send them an email with a bit about your event. Read the article about us published worldwide and in Australia in The Australian, Brisbane Courier Mail, Perth Now and News.com.au 

Social Media:

Social media is easy and fun (for most people). It can be very useful, but its not everything.

Facebook:

Its free to make an event on facebook and I highly recommend doing it. Link it to your website. Also please create a hashtag for it #koalaconservationday so that people can find it easily.

fbpost

Facebook ads cost money, but they can be worth it. Weekends seem to work best for us. You can post and ad for two days over a weekend with a lifetime budget of $30 and get great results.

Posting/sharing your event onto facebook groups is free. Search for groups in your state with similar interests. Join them, and then post. Its easy. Even the groups you’re most nervous about promoting you will probably be very positive.

To find groups, type your location in to search bar, eg “Melbourne” click search. Click Groups tab. A list of the groups you’re in will come first, followed by other groups ranked by size of membership or recent postings. Try other search terms too.

Twitter:

Not everyone loves twitter, but the media do, and they are worth it. Write short posts about all aspects of your event, include a link to your website (not the facebook event) and a picture.

bustardTweet

You can DM (direct message) people on twitter about your event.

You can also include the @…. of someone or an organisation that is involved or would be interested in your event. Don’t overdo it. 4 tweets a day is enough.

Instagram:

Is very popular, but you can’t include live links which is annoying. Some people love it though, so its worth popping on a few great pics with an explanation about your event.

Instagram uses hashtags that people search on, eg #Koala #wildlifephotography #cuteanimals. Its worth putting a few of these on – just typing #koala and you’ll see a range of # people use.
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Other platforms:

There are many – Reddit, Google Plus, Pinterest – play around with them.

If you find any other great sources of free publicity please let me know and I’ll share them here too.

Find my contact details here

How to tell male from female koalas. Part 1: Scent gland

Prof Koala Clancy here to educate you all about koalas!

You’ve no doubt heard that male koalas have a scent gland: a dark-edged bare patch on our chests. But there is a lot of confusion about what a koala scent gland looks like.

Look at these two photographs. Both are adult males with fully-formed scent glands. Its pretty obvious isn’t it?

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This is Winberry, the dominant male. He is at least 12 years old now.

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Then look at this image below. This is a female, and that crease on her chest is not a scent gland – its just a crease in the fur. Notice it has no brown colouring at all, and there’s no stain down her belly. 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Got that? Great. Now I’m going to throw a spanner in the works!

Male scent glands take years to form. So when a koala is young, it can be hard to tell male from female. I’ll use myself as an example.

In this pic, I’m only a baby – 19 months old. My scent gland is not much more than a female-like crease in the fur.  But notice, it does have a brown colour. 

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Here I am again, at 20 months: Even when I was stretched out, there wasn’t much to it, was there?

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And here I am as a 3 year old.  Brown-edged, and now some bare skin showing:

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At 5 and a half years old, I am entering my prime breeding age and my scent gland is large, dark and obvious:

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And now, at over 6 years old my scent gland reaches all the way down my belly, and the bare skin in the centre is plain to see:

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So how can you tell if a koala with a crease in their chest is a young male, or an adult female? Its not easy is it?

First, figure out whether you’re looking at a full adult or a very young koala. Very young koalas (1-2year old) are usually smaller than adults. They have chubby faces, smooth thick fur that is usually grey, not brown. They look more like teddy bears at this age than any other.  In this photo Cuddles is about 11 months old:

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Then, once you’ve established that you’re looking at a young koala have a really good look. Boys always have two items that girls don’t have. Testes! They are obvious from a very young age. Can you see them in this pic of me?

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If the koala is a full grown adult, and the crease on their chest is small, light-coloured and shows no bare skin – then it must be a female.

Sometimes a koala won’t show their chest or their bottoms, and then you just have to guess. Or wait – koalas move on average every 30 minutes. If you wait long enough you’ll eventually see.

So here’s a test. Based on everything you’ve learned, are the following 3 photos of adult females or young male koalas? Please answer in the comments and I’ll tell you if you’re a Koala Expert! 

Photo 1:male or female?

Photo 2: can you tell if this is a male or female?

Photo 3:djillong041215mkwmlowres

Keep learning about koalas from Koala Clancy: facebook.com/koalaClancy and koalaclancyfoundation.org.au

Koala Clancy needs a safety net!

Koala Clancy is one very special koala. He is wild and famous and lives in a natural koala community in the You Yangs just near Melbourne.

ClancySafetyNet

But being famous didn’t protect Clancy from the dangers of climate change – in early November he was rushed into koala hospital for a life-threatening injury. He recovered well, and was released on 27th November. But his capture was traumatic and difficult, his veterinary needs expensive, and his housing inadequate and it became obvious that a ‘safety net’ was needed for Clancy, his kids and his wild koala community.

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The Clancy Safety Net is a plan: veterinary services, equipment and housing that will make future koala rehabilitation easier.  The fundraising campaign: www.chuffed.org/project/clancysafetynet  starting on Wednesday 9th December, will give Clancy and his community a safety net.

Who is Koala Clancy and why is he important?

Koala Clancy is an international tourism asset – his face has graced the covers of travel brochures worldwide, appeared on TV, in newspapers and magazines, been talked about at international wildlife, tourism and scientific conferences. He has his own wildly popular Facebook page, blog and Instagram account and is renowned for ‘his’ informative articles. He has a not for profit foundation in his name.  Thousands of international travellers have met him in his wild home in the You Yangs.  He is a voice from the wild, speaking up for koala conservation.

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So what makes him special? It all started in 2006 when Janine Duffy first met his beautiful grandmother Smoky, with a tiny joey clinging to her belly. It was not a normal day – Janine was looking for koalas in the You Yangs because a bushfire was burning through her wild koala study population in the Brisbane Ranges, 30km to the west. Unable to help or get access to the park, she went to the You Yangs in a desperate attempt to do something positive. She didn’t know at that time that 90% of her beloved koala population were killed in that fire. But she knew that she couldn’t give up – wild koalas needed the kind of observational research she had started seven years earlier.

About Koala Clancy’s grandma Smoky: https://www.youtube.com/embed/9o6mn15PoDY“>

Meeting a healthy mother and baby gave Janine the courage to press on with koala research. Smoky and her joey Pat became the figureheads of the research program in the You Yangs, and when Pat produced her first joey – Pitta – in 2008 she had, for the first time, three known documented generations of a wild koala family in one place.

As male koalas do, Pitta left Pat when he was 12 months old. Janine’s research is all based on observation of natural markings – there is no tagging or radio/GPS tracking – so when a koala leaves the research area, there is no way of following him. That’s tough, but the method is so gentle and stress-free for the koalas that it is worth it. She has happy koalas that don’t avoid the research team, which gives objective results.

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Clancy was Pat’s second son, born in 2010. Unusually, he stayed with Pat until he was 20 months old, but then Clancy is one of a kind. Janine’s bond with Clancy, and her recognition of his markings, were well formed when he finally became independent and left the maternal range.

Watch About Koala Clancy part 2: Mummy’s boy:

https://www.youtube.com/embed/WD4lvi0GUPw“>

So when Janine and the team found him again 3 km to the east it was thrilling beyond belief. Even better, he stayed and is now nearly 6 years old.

Clancy is the first wild You Yangs male koala to be monitored from birth to maturity. If he breeds, they will have four generations of this successful wild family documented. Its a Koala Dynasty!

 

Please support the chuffed.org/project/clancysafetynet campaign to raise funds to build Clancy a “Safety Net” for his future.

 

How wild koalas change their home range

Well, after a few weeks exploring, I’m back in my home range!

Did you know that koalas sometimes change their home range?  I’m thinking about doing that, much to the alarm of my researcher friends at the Koala Clancy Foundation.  Nothing much they can do about it, ha ha, I’m wild!!

Well, in this article I’ll tell you a bit more about how we do it.

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me! Koala Clancy

Resident koalas know their home range intimately.  Every tree is known and has a purpose, and that knowledge might save our lives.   Knowing where to be when danger threatens – like a heatwave, drought or bushfire – can mean the difference between life and death for a wild koala.  Also, to breed we need to be in tip top fitness, so knowing which trees give us the best nutrition is critical to our game plan.

So when we move home ranges, we are taking a risk.

So is it best to just ‘jump in the deep end’ – leave one place and go to another with no option of return?  Or is it best to take vacations and get to know the new area first, then return to our known home?

We generally take the second option – we take short journeys into the new area, check out the scenery and the other koalas, then go home.   If we like the new area, we will stay for longer and longer each ‘vacation’.

PENTAX Image
male Tim Tam taking a walk

Would you like to see an example?  My beautiful neighbour Worinyaloke is in the process of changing her traditional home range right now.  Here she shows how it’s done. Watch:  https://youtu.be/E2xBC8wjCKc

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Beautiful Worinyaloke

Over the years I’ve watched many koalas change their home range.  Nova, as a mature female, changed from Branding Yard to the Turntable region of the You Yangs – an eastward move of 3km.  Vegemite, a mature male, moved west from Turntable to Branding Yard.  Karen, mature female moved 2km south into Red Gum Gully for 3 years, then moved west for another year.  Elizabeth, mature female, moved south-west to share Red Gum Gully with my mum Pat after Pat’s mother Smoky died.  Anzac, my dad, moved north from the front gate of the You Yangs, eventually taking over Vegemite’s territory and then Merle’s and is now the dominant male with the largest home range I’ve ever heard of (about 40 hectares).

There’s a lot more to us than you might think, eh?

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old male Tim Tam taking a walk around his large home range

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Clancy of the You Yangs meets Clancy of the Overflow

Part of the reason I was named Clancy is because that name has a great history in Australia. In 1889 poet Banjo Paterson wrote “Clancy of the Overflow”, a poem about a city dweller dreaming of a life in The Bush.

I live wild and free in The Bush, so in a way, I’m like that Clancy – for everyone in a city who wishes they could be out in the wild like me…

I had written him a letter which I had, for want of better
Knowledge, sent to where I met him down the Lachlan*, years ago,
He was shearing when I knew him, so I sent the letter to him,
Just ‘on spec’, addressed as follows, ‘Clancy, of The Overflow*’.
And an answer came directed in a writing unexpected,
(And I think the same was written with a thumb-nail dipped in tar)
’Twas his shearing mate who wrote it, and verbatim I will quote it:
‘Clancy’s gone to Queensland droving, and we don’t know where he are.’

Koala Clancy

In my wild erratic fancy visions come to me of Clancy
Gone a-droving ‘down the Cooper’ where the Western drovers go;
As the stock are slowly stringing, Clancy rides behind them singing,
For the drover’s life has pleasures that the townsfolk never know.
And the bush hath friends to meet him, and their kindly voices greet him
In the murmur of the breezes and the river on its bars,
And he sees the vision splendid of the sunlit plains extended,
And at night the wond’rous glory of the everlasting stars.

Koala Clancy singing

I am sitting in my dingy little office, where a stingy
Ray of sunlight struggles feebly down between the houses tall,
And the foetid air and gritty of the dusty, dirty city
Through the open window floating, spreads its foulness over all
And in place of lowing cattle, I can hear the fiendish rattle
Of the tramways and the ‘buses making hurry down the street,
And the language uninviting of the gutter children fighting,
Comes fitfully and faintly through the ceaseless tramp of feet.

Koala Clancy of the You Yangs

And the hurrying people daunt me, and their pallid faces haunt me
As they shoulder one another in their rush and nervous haste,
With their eager eyes and greedy, and their stunted forms and weedy,
For townsfolk have no time to grow, they have no time to waste.
And I somehow rather fancy that I’d like to change with Clancy,
Like to take a turn at droving where the seasons come and go,
While he faced the round eternal of the cash-book and the journal
But I doubt he’d suit the office, Clancy, of ‘The Overflow’.Koala Clancy

1889 “Clancy of the Overflow” by Banjo Paterson 

*Lachlan – a river in south-western NSW

*The Overflow – an area where a river floods over plains, particularly in the dry parts of NSW.  Possibly relates to a particular sheep station near Nyngan, NSW, but has been used to mean a general region.