The Koala Experience

Koalas in gum tree on Phillip IslandThe Phillip Island ticket we bought for the Penguin Parade gave us access to the Koala Conservation Centre within 6 months of purchase. We ate a yummy breakfast at Bean’d Eatery in San Remo and then drove across the bridge and to the middle of the island where a grove of gum trees is home to koalas both inside and outside of a sanctuary.

The sanctuary has older, larger koalas sleeping the day away in eucalyptus trees along a raised boardwalk. This allows you to see them a few yards away, and yet give them the respectful distance that a wild animal deserves. The centre is different than a traditional zoo because the design feels more like it is about containing the human visitors than containing the koalas.

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Koalas are tree-hugging marsupials: their young is born, climbs into their pouch and nurses for months, then the “joey” climbs out and rides on Mum’s back or front.

All day there was interpretive signage that communicated the threat to many of Australia’s iconic animals. The main extinction threat appears to be loss of habitat. And then, perhaps to limit overpopulation, some koalas have chlamydia, and some Tasmanian Devils develop cancer of the jaw, and so on.

I saw koalas in several more locations and each time the koala was chilling in a tree. Sadly when there is a bush fire of gum trees, it often consumes koalas who do not move fast enough away from an oncoming fire.

The koala looks so soft and cuddly and yet these nocturnal creatures are not. The males especially can make a racket at night.

I am so gladI saw so many different koalas.

 

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