Orphaned four-month-old koala joey Squeaky is cared for at Port Macquarie Koala Hospital, New South Wales, Australia. He was found whimpering in his mother’s pouch after she was struck by a car on the Oxley Highway two weeks ago.
Common Name: Koala (not a bear). Latin Name: Phascolarctos cinereus. Distribution: Australian Continent, east and south coasts. Absent from WA and Tasmania. IUCN Status: Least Concern. Habitat and Ecology: Feed and occur almost exclusively on Eucalyptus spp. and are able to persist in sparsely populated forest sometimes even single trees for long periods. They exhibit regional preference for food trees and may live up to 18 years (normal range 10-14years). Threats: Habitat fragmentation since European settlement has led to a diminished original range. This fragmentation leaves Koalas travelling on the ground between forest patches open to danger from traffic strikes and dog predation. This is particularly relevant in the Redlands near Brisbane where numbers have plummeted on the Koala coast. Conservation efforts: Still numerous in protected areas such as hinterlands on the east coast where a high density of Eucalyptus spp. still remain. As yet the National Strategy for Conservation of the Koala is still in draft form. (IUCN Redlist http://www.iucnredlist.org/apps/redlist/details/16892/0).