Dianne Hausler
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Koala Facts
Did you know:Koala at Tarradarrapin Wetlands
  • Koalas have two thumbs on each front paw.
  • Newborns weigh only 0.5 grams and are the size of a human thumbnail.
  • Eucalyptus leaves are toxic to most animals, except koalas.
  • Scientific name: Phascolarctos cinereus .
  • Baby koalas are called joeys .
  • Koalas breed once a year.


The Demise of the Iconic


Since the beginning of the 19th century, indigenous wildlife was excessively hunted by settlers for their soft fur pelts. These animals were entirely helpless in the face of merciless hunters and their dogs. By the late 19th century a yearly estimate of 300,000 Koala pelts was shipped to England, to supply the lucrative American and British fur market. By the early 1930's hunters nearly eliminated the entire koala population in the southern regions of Australia.

In 1898, a Victorian legislation to halt the killing of koalas was passed; however, it seems this was unable to be enforced. In 1908, more than 57,933 koala pelts passed through the Sydney fur export market alone, and hunting spread to Queensland. By 1915, year-round hunting of Koalas was permitted.

After a public outcry in 1921, the Queensland Government banned the hunting season. However, due to commercial pressure the government did a back flip that resulted in a reopening of koala hunting – this then lasted for an additional five years. In 1927, during a one month season, 584,738 koalas were killed. Koala hunting was eventually outlawed in the 1930's.

Since the beginning of the 19th century, indigenous wildlife was excessively hunted by settlers for their soft fur pelts. These animals were entirely helpless in the face of merciless hunters and their dogs. By the late 19th century a yearly estimate of 300,000 Koala pelts was shipped to England, to supply the lucrative American and British fur market. By the early 1930's hunters nearly eliminated the entire koala population in the southern regions of Australia.

In 1898, a Victorian legislation to halt the killing of koalas was passed; however, it seems this was unable to be enforced. In 1908, more than 57,933 koala pelts passed through the Sydney fur export market alone, and hunting spread to Queensland. By 1915, year round hunting of Koalas was permitted.

After a public outcry in 1921, the Queensland Government banned the hunting season. However, due to commercial pressure the government did a back flip that resulted in a reopening of koala hunting – this then lasted for an additional five years. In 1927, during a one month season, approximately 584,738 koalas were killed. Koala hunting was eventually outlawed in the 1930's.

Sadly, koalas today still face extinction through to habitat loss and disease. The continued push for development – especially in South East Queensland – threatens to destroy the remaining pockets of eucalyptus forests. Destruction of their food source and habitat place their future in jeopardy.

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