Find out more about our resident koalas at WILD LIFE Sydney Zoo on Darling Harbour, Sydney.
The cute koala is one of the world's most recognisable animals. They love to lounge around all day eating eucalyptus leaves. Koalas need special bacteria in their stomach to break down the tough leaves. They aren't born with this bacteria so mum introduces it to the joey by producing a paste called 'pap' which the joey eats.
Despite its bearlike looks it's not a bear at all. It's called a marsupial, which means the koala gives birth to live young, but they're still undeveloped and need to live in Mum's pouch and drink as much milk as they can until they are big enough to start eating leaves.
Koalas have suffered major loss of habitat since European settlement, and some populations are in serious decline. Large scale clearing of eucalypt forests as well as domestic dog attacks, feral animals, bushfires, disease and road accidents are all responsible for the decline of the species. Australian Wildlife Conservancy (AWC) protects these endangered animals at Curramore and Mount Zero-Taravale, two wildlife sanctuaries in Queensland.
What can you do to help?
- Be a responsible pet owner - know where your dogs and cats are at all times and keep them under control
- Take care on the roads, particularly in known koala areas where you see koala road signs
- Get involved with 'Plant a Tree' days
- You could approach your local minister and find out what they are doing to help protect koalas
- Donate to key koala and wildlife conservation funds such as AKF and AWC
All of these activities, along with the generous support from the public and government can work towards making sure Australia's koala population does not become extinct.