National Wild Koala Day
May 3rd is National Wild Koala Day, a day solely dedicated to raising awareness about endangered koalas and their threatened habitat of eucalyptus trees. There are several organizations that have dedicated their time and efforts to protecting koalas and wildlife, including the Koala Clancy Foundation and the Echidna Walkabout.
All About Koalas
Koalas often called koala “bears”, are actually not bears at all! Koalas are marsupials, meaning they are pouched animals. After giving birth, a female koala carries her baby in her pouch for about six months until the baby can see and walk on its own. Baby koalas are known as joeys, just like all other marsupial babies, and are the size of a jellybean when first born.
Koalas live in eastern Australia where the eucalyptus trees grow. They have sharp claws and opposable digits that help them climb and cling to the trees. They sleep in trees during the day for up to 18 hours, and then at night, koalas eat eucalyptus leaves- about 2.5 pounds of leaves per day! They do not drink much water, as they hydrate themselves with the moisture from the leaves.
Fun fact: koalas can store snacks of leaves in the pouches of their cheeks!
Planting Trees To Save Koalas
The Koala Clancy Foundation is a non-profit association and registered charity that was created to support the wild koalas of the Western Plains of Victoria in Australia. The foundation has created two koala tree planting projects west of Melbourne, Australia, which will increase the animal’s habitat by 500%. The trees will be planted in soil near rivers in order to provide the koalas with rich food and cool air to aid them on scorching hot days. The trees will be planted by volunteers and school children, all organized by the Koala Clancy Foundation. In 2017 and 2018, 5,000 trees were planted, and the two projects this year will add an additional 3,000 trees.
Who is Koala Clancy? Clancy is a male koala living wild in the You Yangs Regional Park near Melbourne. He was born in April/May 2010 and lived with his mother and grandmother until he was about 20 months old and ventured out on his own. In late 2015/early 2016, Clancy needed to be rescued and given veterinarian treatment due to injuries from climate change. Koalas are one of ten species worldwide that are most at risk from climate change. The increase in carbon dioxide in the air is changing the chemical makeup of eucalyptus leaves, which provide food and shelter to koalas. Thankfully, Clancy fully recovered and received immense support from the public.
Janine Duffy and Roger Smith founded Echidna Walkabout in 1993 with the mission to provide high-quality nature and wildlife experiences for small groups of international and domestic travelers in southeastern Australia and the Northern Territory. Duffy and Smith believe that a responsible wildlife tourism industry in Australia will help others learn to respect and care about protecting wildlife while creating economic value. For more information on tours and how you can help wildlife while you travel, click here.
Echidna Walkabout offers several nature tours including a Sunset Koalas & Kangaroos tour, a Crocodiles, Dingo, and Birds tour, and a Kangaroos, Emus, and Cockatoos tour to name a few. They offer competitive and affordable prices and practice positive conservation on each tour to minimize negative effects on the environment.
5 Ways To Celebrate Koalas and Protect Their Habitats Year Round
- Pin a leaf to your clothing – as a sign that animals need resources and food. Pin a eucalyptus leaf if you live in Australia or California where eucalyptus trees grow, as these trees are a koala’s natural habitat. If you are not in one of those areas, you can still participate by pinning any species of leaf!
- Plant a tree – if you live in an area where eucalyptus trees grow, plant a eucalyptus tree. If you live elsewhere, plant a tree of any species! We are losing our forests all around the world and depend on trees for oxygen, food, and shelter for animals. Trees also store carbon and reduce the impacts of climate change, so plant a tree no matter where you live!
- Change your social media profile pictures to a Koala – when you receive questions from your friends and family, use this as an opportunity to educate them about koalas and protecting wildlife.
- Visit Australia – Australia thrives on tourism and according to Australian Wildlife Journeys, 3,000 Koala trees will be planted this year near Melbourne thanks to international tourists.
- Phone a politician – call your local politicians and tell them why koalas and the environment are important to you. Politicians make laws on behalf of the people, and can only make a change if we tell them what is important to us! For helpful ideas on what to say and for contact details for Australian politicians and environment ministers, visit Koala Clancy’s blog.
For more resources on Koalas and how to get involved, visit: