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2020 - year SIX of daily sighting, observation and photography

There have been some changes to the numbered zones in the property again during 2020 to mark out zone 19 which is the new koala kindy.

Fortunately 2020 has been a year of slowly recovering from the drought and fires of 2019.

One of the biggest impacts for Koala Gardens was the loss of two important colony members, and the disappearance of several others.  This resulted in no joeys being born on the property.  This is such a reminder of how fragile the entire koala population is and how precious every single koala is.

There were a total of 699 adult sightings. This takes the daily average to 1.9 koalas per day. While this is a significant drop from the numbers that we were trending towards in 2019, the second half of the year saw a definite increase begin.

During the dispersion (from July each year), new females began moving through and onto the property again.  This will be particularly important for the re-stabilising of the colony over the next 1 – 2 years.
These days of sightings were the result of activity on the property by 33 individual adult/independent koalas.
17 of these 33 koalas were males and 16 females.  That is the most even distribution we have seen before.

We were particularly saddened to lose the awesome alpha male Jordan.  His issues were a byproduct of the drought, a secondary issue if you like.  He was infected by a nasty parasite that is carried by the Indonesian cattle tick (not the native Australian ticks).  This parasite destroys the red blood cells and proved difficult to treat.  Sadly we were unable to rid him of this.

Only one week later, the beautiful Racee died very suddenly and there was no chance to attempt to save her.  We performed a necropsy which show enlarged lymph nodes through her body and heart issues.  She also showed some ovarian cysts which is caused by chlamydia.  This is an important discover as she never showed any outward signs of chlamydial infection, so indicates just how insidious this disease, brought to the country with sheep, has been for our koalas.

Interestingly, there were no other koalas that came onto the property during the entire year that was diseased.

The kindy has been host to 10 koalas for different reasons after being established in July.  This has been another way Koala Gardens is able to extend the activities of helping save koalas.  The kindy was kindly funded by ifaw and  FOK and koalas are in the kindy under the rescue and rehabilitation licence of FOK. 

So now get settled and enjoy looking back over the 33 koalas that lived on, or came through Koala Gardens during 2020.

BULLET

While in the video I count up, here on the page I count down, so we start with the koala that was seen the very most.

The fantastic fella everybody loves, Bullet. 

We’ve been entertained and amazed by Bullet all year.  He has shown some incredible acrobatic skills and a calm disposition.

He is also seen most frequently on YouTube because not only is he on the property the most often, but his favourite home trees are right beside my house.  This means I get so many more video opportunities when I can look out my kitchen window and see him.

Bullet had been pushed out of the property, but when Jordan died, he returned to much of his old favourite territory.

Bullet male koala
Hugo male koala

HUGO

was a close second being here 95 days of the year.

Hugo is an Alpha male whose territory covers the Southwest end of the property.  He is a large koala, likely weighing around 8 kg or more.  He shows typical alpha qualities such as a large round head, huge nose, small ears and eyes.

Even though we don’t see him as often a Bullet, he uses a smaller area of the property and so it makes sense that he has to spend more time patrolling around the rest of his home range.

Interestingly, that’s where we’ve being seeing most of the activity by all of the new girls during the second half of this year. 

So Hugo has really got something that’s bringing them in it would seem – keep up the good work mate. 

ANGEL

was only here for 49 days of the year but what an impact she made in that short time.

Angel arrived at koala gardens in December 2019 she’s the perfect mix of the biggest ears we’ve ever seen, and the best nose pattern we’ve ever seen.  Just look at the amount of pink on her nose and the shapes it makes.

She  absolutely mesmerised all of us during her time here, and she definitely had a little joey in pouch.  She possibly spent her time here taking advantage of a quiet and safe place to allow her small pouch young to get a safe start in life.

So I hope that she was able to raise that beautiful young one somewhere close by and is very healthy and strong still.

Angel female koala
Ellie female koala

ELLIE

was seen here only 46 days, however the first time she was seen on the property was October 23.  This is towards the end of the dispersion time, and I believe she had been separated from her mum very long at all.  That means she was seen nearly every day once she arrived.

Ellie is the youngest of the independent koalas on the property she has actually grown quite a lot since she came here. 

I’m sure she’s put on at least a half a kilo so she would now be about 3 kilos big. 

She’s strong, she’s healthy, and she’s exactly the kind of future breeder we need. Just look at those ears, she’s a delight.

We truly hope that Ellie has made Koala Gardens her home range, and we get to watch her grow and mature for years to come.

PHOENIX

was here for 42 days, and this spanned the year with a big gap where we did not see her.  We saw here 19 days until February 15, and then she wasn’t seen until August 30.

Having Phoenix here is beyond exciting. Phoenix was born on the property. She’s a daughter of Racee and she left the property after the torrential rain early this year that broke the drought. 

She has brought a lot of hope because her reappearance indicates that any of the other colony members we haven’t seen from around the same time may well be living quite close by and be healthy and thriving.

I think that everybody remembers the most amazing video we got during the year of that little pouch wriggling away.  If you haven’t seen this, please check @KoalaGardens on YouTube and search on Phoenix.

Phoenix a female koala
Matilda female koala

MATILDA

was seen here 41 times.  She was first seen in mid July and was here quite often over a month.

Swaggie is a young male koala who  came onto the property and took quite an interest in her.  There is some great video of this on YouTube if you search the @KoalaGardens channel there.  She was very adamant in telling him a big no, and she actually moved along for a while and came back in November.

Since November she has been here quite often and seems to be beginning to move about in a pattern and hopefully this means she will stay around as we would love to watch her grow up and mature.

JORDAN

was here for 27 days and tragically was lost to a blood parasite.

Nobody will ever forget Jordan.   We did everything we could to save him, but his legacy lives on forever.  If you search him on  @KoalaGardens you will find a full tribute video to him and his life.

Jordan was the alpha of a large proportion of the property for many years and will have contributed much to the genetic health of the colony.  The alpha male is the top of the heap, but he doesn’t always manage to be the only male to breed in a colony.  Male koalas have to move about quite large territories, so any lower ranking male will take any breeding opportunity that presents and may be successful.

He was a large fella, weighing around 8.5 kg and was always very easy to identify due to both his size and his very dark colouring.  Dark brown koalas are quite common in the Tuckurimba area.

Jordan male koala
Jackie female koala

JACKIE

was seen just 26 days during October and November.

The first thing that was strikingly obvious with this beauty is what aan awesome nose pattern she has.  

She’s just so beautiful and so big.  I would estimate that she weighs around 6kg which is a good size for a female. Exactly what we want to see in possible big mumma koalas.

Jackie was always easy to identify because of her size and quite dark colouring.  Just when it looked like maybe she would stay around, she stopped being seen.  Maybe she is close by and we will still see her again soon.

She particularly liked the tallowwood trees that are on the south western area of the property and there are not many in this are, so let’s hope!

MEGGS

was here for 22 days, and always in the Kindy enclosure.

Meggs was orphaned and hand raised.  

She was here twice, which is uncommon.  The first time she was here in October for 14 days with Butters and Dimples. 

She was released in another area, but after some weeks took sick and came back into care. 

That then brought her back here to prepare for release again and she will return to the place she was rescued from.  We wish her a long and healthy life now.

Meggs female koala
Maggie female koala

MAGGIE

 

was only seen here during mid October to November, but was seen 21 times.

She had a lovely pale grey coat and was the picture of health.

She had a similar look to Matilda, but the nose pattern identification really works to be sure.  

She also has smaller ears with just slightly less hair.

We hope she is safe and lives a long healthy life producing many joeys to ensure the future of koalas.

 

KHAMIN

was here for 21 days and was buddied with Dita Von in the kindy.

These two girls were the very first kindy koalas arriving in early July.

Khamin was only a small back young when she lost her mother and spent many months being carefully raised by an experienced home carer.

One of the biggest risks to orphaned koalas is pneumonia and things were not easy for her.  But due to the great care she was given she prevailed and took to kindy life like a natural.

Khamin is little and dark and not to be trifled with.  Live a long healthy life beautiful girl and make many joeys!

Khamin female koala
Dita Von female koala

DITA VON

was the buddy of Khamin and the first of the koalas into the new kindy enclosure.  They stayed 21 days.

Dita Von and Khamin had not met each other, coming straight from home care to the kindy.  Yet they both took to the new situation very well and appeared to take little notice of each other.

They would have become quickly accustomed to each others smells and little noises however.  

They were released together on a property with almost no koalas, but lots of trees that were planted several years ago.  Another koala haven!

They have been seen several times since release appearing to be doing very well and remaining healthy.

RACEE

was seen here 20 times during the first 2 months of 2020.

Racee was 5 years old and successfully raised 3 wonderful joeys:

  • Karla in 2017
  • Phoenix in 2018
  • Smokey in 2019

Racee spent a good amount of her time on the property during those years and she is pictured here in one of her favourite home trees.  This is a mature forest red gum and she is around 30 metres from the ground.

She has left a wonderful legacy and we are thrilled Phoenix is continuing to come around and thriving.

 

Racee female koala
Kyle male koala

KYLE

was an adult who came to the kindy for 20 days.

Kyle comes from the Gold Coast area, around 130 km away from Koala Gardens.  There is a lot of development in that area causing a huge loss of habitat. 

He was terribly underweight but no disease. 

A good place in his area needed to be found for him, so he came into the kindy to just eat as much as he could while that was sorted out.

So far he has stayed out of trouble since release, let’s hope he is able to live a long healthy life now.

SMOKEY

is the last joey and son of Racee.  

He was born in late 2018, and separated from mum in late 2019. 

He was still seen around the property 19 times until around mid February when he moved on to find his own home range.

We enjoyed much delight watching this fella grow and scamper about the tree tops as only a koala can.

We hope he found a safe place to settle and will go on to produce many more joeys and help secure the future of koalas in Australia.

Smokey male koala joey
Ash male koala

ASH

was only seen 19 days after arriving in April.

Ash is the most gorgeous looking young fella. He only appeared to be around 4.5 – 5kg when he arrived, but he has put on a lot of weight in the 8 months we have seen him.

He really tried to make a home here but between Bullet and Hugo it didn’t just seem to quite work out. 

He pops back in, even if just for a day or two most months of the year.

This allows me to believe he is living quite close by, and maybe the edge of his home range just the properties eastern boundary.

NEWMAN

was see just 18 times in 2020, but was here during 2019.  

He was last seen in mid February.  Quite a few of the regular colony members were last seen around this time.

The drought and fires of 2019 were severe and went for a long time.  In early February we finally received rain, but it was torrential and caused many koalas to fall ill, die or move their territories.

Newman was often seen to be moving position in accordance with following Stevie.  

He left when she did so I aways hold out lots of hope that they are living somewhere quite close by.

Newman male koala
Butters male koala

BUTTERS

was in the second group of orphans that got to use the kindy.

Butters is a little scamp that is quick and agile and wins hearts immediately.

He came to the kind with Meggs and Dimples.  I think they were a little relieved to have the extra space and lots of trees as he became quite independent quickly.

He was released on a property of another koala carer, and has been seen quite often since release and is doing very well so far.

Live long and well young fella.

NICK

is the second joey born to Stevie.

Yes you may see the joke in his name (he is Stevie’s Nick).

What a beautiful koala he is.  He was born in 2018 and separated from Stevie in late 2019.  He was always seen fairly close to her however, so they were doing a slow and gentle separation.

He was last seen around when she was, so I believe that he followed her, as did Newman.

I like to imagine that he followed Stevie and then dispersed a bit later in the year and is living a long healthy life.

Nick male koala
Dimples female koala

DIMPLES

was a kindy koala for 2 weeks along with Meggs and Butters.

She was orphaned as a fairly mature back young but had to be hand raised.

She didn’t tolerate any nonsense, unless it was Butters and she totally thrived in the kindy environment.

She has done well since full release, and has been seen a couple of times but is being quite busy getting on with being a wild koala.

We hope she lives a long life and produces many joeys.

 

SWAGGIE

was only seen here 11 times, during August and then again during October.

However he really made sure he was noticed and had adventures both months.

Isn’t he a looker?

When he was here in August he tried to waltzing Matilda who was having none of it.

Then in October on return Bullet gave him some lessons in who can go where and sent him packing.  We hope he found a home.

 

Swaggie male koala
Ivy female koala

IVY

was 1 of 4 koalas that arrived in the kindy on Christmas eve.

A gorgeous dark little koala, she was only 360g when she was found with no mother in evidence.  What a fighter she turned out to be, growing well against all odds.

She is a gorgeous dark little bundle of determination and has done very well in the kindy. 

She often hangs out with her buddy Bloom, but was quite independent a lot of the time.

Go on to become a wonderful healthy girl that can produce many joeys.

 

BLOOM

was 1 of 4 koalas that arrived in the kindy on Christmas eve.

Even though she is several months older than Ivy, Bloom had lived for some time as Ivy’s buddy.

It is common to try and raise koala joeys with a ‘buddy’ as a human can’t be a complete replacement for a koala mum.  They do better, and learn more about being a ‘koala’ if they have even another young koala with them most of the time.

Bloom and Ivy will be released together even though it means Bloom had to stay in care a little longer than if she had a buddy here own age.

Live long and produce many joeys beautiful girl

Bloom female koala
Fey female koala

FEY

was 1 of 4 koalas that arrived in the kindy on Christmas eve.

Fey is older than even Bloom by quite a few months.

Fey lives in an urban area outside Lismore.  This is traditionally koala land but is seeing more and more houses built every year.

She shows no disease or other health issues, yet has fallen from trees twice and been brought into care.

She appears strong and healthy now, so we wish her all the very best as she prepares to head back home.

Live long, wild and free beautiful girl.

STEVIE

was seen only 5 times in 2020.

However, she was seen a total of 476 times during the years she made a home here at Koala Gardens.  She was only young when she arrived, and did not even breed that first year.

She produced 2 male joeys, Frankie and then Nick.

She moved within the property less after she separated from Frankie as he would chase her and want to bond with her again.

I truly believe she is living close by and possibly she had a joey to Newman during 2020.

 

Stevie female koala
Jesse male koala

JESSE

was only in the kindy for 5 days.

He spent 2 of the nights outside the kindy and has been nicknamed Houdini.

Jesse has had long term gut health issues and had been in care for 15 months when he came to the kindy hoping to get ready for release.

He scaled the fence twice and had to go back to care in a fully enclosed run.  The fence has now had modifications and he may come back during 2021 to try again.

MILLIE

was only seen 4 times, but what a lovely girl she is.

She has a lovely feminine face and was agile and lively.

She came through once each in September and October.

Then she was here 2 days in December.

This indicates that she was a younger female dispersing and looking for a place to settle.  I do wish she had settled here, but then she may still come back through again if we are lucky.

Millie female koala
George male koala

GEORGE

was only seen 3 times.

He was big enough that he was probably a young adult, certainly not an early juvenile.

There are many reasons a koala may be looking for a new home range.  The most common is that they are young koalas dispersing from their place of birth.

But with habitat loss being such an issue, pressures on food and breeding opportunities can cause adult koalas to have to move at times as well.

We hope George found a good home range and lives a long health life.

FAISON

was here for just 2 days.

He was found on a house verandah 2 km away, with little food trees on a cattle property.  Luke (pictured) and I rescued him together. 

He was given a clean bill of heath, so we released him here, in the hopes that he would hang around for the free meal.

He stayed 2 days, then likely headed back to where we found him as he may have established a home range.  Stay away from houses mate!

Faison male koala
Winston male koala

WINSTON

 

was only seen once.

He was the size and shape of a mature male, so could have been passing through for many reasons.

A lovey, calm natured, dark koala typical of the area.

I hope he has found a safe home range with lots of food.

MONTI

was only seen here once.

He was quite shy and nervous and getting a clear photograph of his nose was not an easy task.

In a tree very close by I spotted Hugo.

That probably accounts for the nervous behaviour, and is possibly why he moved on that night.

He was the size and had the head shape of a mature male.

I hope he found a good home range with food to live a long life.

Monti male koala
Fabio male koala

FABIO

was only seen once in 2020, but has been through again in early January 2021.

He is a juvenile, and probably looking for somewhere to establish his home range.

He is a delightful dark coated youngster, with large ears and such an alert expression.

We hope to see more of him as time passes and that he lives a long healthy life.

ADONIS

was only seen once and impressed everyone immediately.

We decided he was quite divine, so immediately greek god type names were suggested with Adonis winning.

He is agile, strong and leaps between the tree branches easily.

We would love to see him back again, but at the very least hope he finds a home range that has plenty of food and beautiful females to take the koala forward for another generation.

 

Adonis male koala
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