Koala Challenges

The Koala has few native predators. There used to be at least twelve koalas species that flourished in the once-existing rain forests of Australia. Koalas practically lived in paradise and did not develop their adrenal glands in the same way as other animals which constantly depended on flight or fight reactions for their survival.

Unfortunately, this lack of flight or fight response in the koala has also caused it to be utterly unequipped to deal with modern-day hazards. Instead of running away or fighting, it'll often go into a state of shock. "Koala stress syndrome" has often been observed in animals, particularly males, that experience significant environmental changes.

Several venues have allocated all their resources to help try to preserve a future for the koala. Some "koala hospitals" are outfitted with MRI Machines made for humans, and top medical personnel that can help the animals on a daily basis.

With more than 4000 koalas being rescued yearly (approximately 15 - 20% of rescued animals actually survive) due mainly to dog attacks, car accidents, and chlamidia infections, much help is needed in aiding these non-government funded associations to help the koala from extinction.

Below are top ten challenges koalas are facing for their survival:

1. By the beginning of the 20th century, up to ten million koalas were killed by fur-traders and have even been assumed to be extinct in some parts of Australia when koala fur trading was outlawed by the Australian Government after the last "open season" 1927. President Hoover, who had formerly worked in the goldfields of Western Australia, prohibited the import of koala skins into the USA which helped put an end to the slaughter in 1930 as most furs had made their way to Louisiana under the guise of other animals.

3. Cars are a major cause of up to around 200 of injuries and death each month. Koalas increasingly have to travel longer distances to find another home. This subjects them to being run over. When frightened by a car, the koala will often simply stare into its demise.

3. Dogs, in general, are a hazard to koalas. Dozens of koalas get attacked by dogs each week. Dingos, Australian wild dogs which are widely presumed to have been imported by Asian seafarers, are another one of koala's imported enemies. Dingos hunt in packs. Koalas, when on the ground to search for another food tree, will just stare perplexedly into the eyes danger.

4. One of the top killers also known as the "aids" of the koala world is a bacteria named Chlamydia Psittaci. It affects urinary tracts and eyes. It will render koalas sterile, with shut-close eyes, and result in death if untreated.

5. Wildfires have been devastating through the ages. The Eucalyptus oil in the trees causes fierce fires to burn on, lasting for weeks or even a month. Forest fires have caused koala populations to completely disappear in certain areas.

6. Koalas only eat eucalyptus leaves. Although there are over 600 kinds of Eucalypts in Australia, they only eat leaves of about 35. Koalas are finicky eaters that will pass a leaf depending on the content of a certain toxin it may sniff out on given days. With trees being cut down continually to make way for new human development, food trees slowly vanish.

7. Continued bush-clearing to make way for housing developments has left many tree less corridors in between forests that force koalas to travel long distances to find another food tree, a mate, or venture out on their own after reaching adulthood. Many dangers await them on their way as they are not as sure-footed on the ground as they are in trees. They wobble at best. When in a hurry, they will hop somewhat like a rabbit, using their strong forearms to land on. But they are by far not as fast and thus an easy pray.*

8. Swimming pools cause dozens of koala deaths each year. With most of the surviving koala populations living on private lands, they often fall into pools. Though decent swimmers, they simply can't latch on to the sides of the pools to get themselves back out.

9. Droughts, particularly in the hot northern regions west of the dividing range, often kill many koalas that can't get much water out of the dried up, browning rucalyptus leaves.

10. Small koala-joeys can be caught by powerful owls and wedge-tailed eagles.

*Though it often takes koalas some time to catch on to danger, once recognized, they can get quite angry. Koalas have sharp claws that can create serious injury, and teeth to match.



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