Koala’s amazing crash escape

Not only is this koala bear one of the cutest animals on the planet, it just may be among the luckiest too. Defying the odds normally stacked against wildlife in an encounter with a fast moving vehicle, this koala bear survived being hit by a car travelling upwards of 50 mph — and miraculously, without sustaining any injury at all. ccording to 9 News, the adorable marsupial was struck by a Ford Falcon outside of Portland, Australia, and became lodged in the vehicle’s front grill. The driver, who was travelling at a fairly speedy clip, assumed the full-grown koala had perished in the accident. When the driver pulled over to assess the carnage, he found the animal was in fact still alive, stuck in the front of his car just below his licence plate. he driver then drove

another 10 miles or so to a local veterinarian with the koala still attached to the car. After carefully freeing the animal from the grill, vet Lisia Sturm made a startling discovery — the koala was quite alright. It looked quite surprised — if koalas can look surprised. It had its bum wedged right in there meaning it couldn’t get out. But he was a big boy and looked really healthy. He didn’t have any injuries at all — not even a graze. Sturm kept the animal for observation for a few hours following the accident, but deemed it fit to return back to the habitat from whence it was so rudely plucked. news from: treehugger.com  ~  The koala (Phascolarctos cinereus) is an arboreal herbivorous marsupial native to Australia, and the only extant representative of the family Phascolarctidae.The koala is found in coastal regions of eastern and southern Australia, from near Adelaide to the southern part of Cape York Peninsula. Populations also extend for considerable distances inland in regions with enough moisture to support suitable woodlands. The koalas of South Australia were largely exterminated during the early part of the 20th century, but the state has since been repopulated with Victorian stock. The koala is not found in Tasmania or Western Australia. The Australian government currently lists the koala as a priority species for conservation status assessment. Government estimates of the national koala population numbers in the hundreds of thousands, although other studies have estimated as few as 80,000 koalas left in the wild.The Australian Koala Foundation estimates there are around 100,000 koalas left in the wild. The IUCN lists the species as “Least Concern”.The Australian government does not consider the species to be threatened, although the US government has

declared the koala a threatened species. The koala was hunted almost to extinction in the early 20th century, largely for its fur. Millions of furs were traded to Europe and the United States, and the population has not fully recovered from such decimations. Extensive cullings occurred in Queensland in 1915, 1917, and again in 1919 when over one million koalas were killed with guns, poisons, and nooses. The public outcry over the cullings was most likely the first wide-scale environmental issue that rallied Australians. Despite the growing movement to protect native species, the poverty brought about by the drought of 1926–28 led to another 600,000 koalas being killed during a one-month open season in August 1927. Today, habitat loss and the impacts of urbanisation (such as dog attacks and traffic accidents) are the leading threats to the survival of the koala. In recent years, some colonies have been hard hit by disease, especially chlamydia.The koala requires large areas of healthy, connected forest and will travel long distances along tree corridors in search of new territory and mates. The increasing human population of the coastal parts of the continent continues to cut these corridors by agricultural and residential development, forestry, and road-building, marooning koala colonies in decreasing areas of bush. The long term viability of the koala is therefore threatened by genetic weakness. The Australian Koala Foundation is the principal organisation dedicated to the conservation of the koala and its

habitat, mapping 40,000 km2 (15,000 sq mi) of land for koala habitat and claiming strong evidence that wild koala populations are in serious decline throughout the species’ natural range. Local councils in growing urban areas with koala populations that have established or are in the process of establishing planning overlays and controls to preserve habitat for koalas include the Victorian councils of City of Ballarat, Macedon Ranges Shire and Glenelg Hopkins Catchment Management Authority as well as the Queensland councils of Moreton Bay Regional Council, Redland Shire Council. Although the species covers a large area, only ‘pieces’ of koala habitat remain. Presently, many habitats are lost to weeds, clearance for agriculture, or carved up by developers. Other threats come from logging, poor management, attacks from feral and domestic animals, diseases, and roads. In contrast to the situation on much of the mainland, where populations are declining, koalas, like many other species, can overrun smaller islands or isolated regions where they have been introduced. On Kangaroo Island in South Australia, koalas introduced some 90 years ago have thrived in the absence of predators and competition. Combined with an inability to migrate to new areas, this has caused the koala populations to become unsustainable and threaten the island’s unique ecology. In particular, species of Manna Gum, native to the island, are being stripped by koalas at a rate faster than

they can regenerate, endangering local birds and invertebrates that rely on them, and causing the extinction of at least one isolated population of manna. Koala numbers are estimated at over 30,000, with ecologists suggesting that the island can sustain 10,000 at most. Although culling has been suggested as a means to reduce koala numbers, with the South Australian government seriously considering such in 1996, this has met with fierce opposition both domestically and internationally, and the species remains protected. The popularity of the koala has made the possibility of a cull politically improbable, with any negative perception likely to impact tourism and a government’s electability. In place of a cull, sterilization and relocation programs have had only limited success in reducing numbers thus far, and remain expensive. There is evidence that koalas relocated to the mainland have difficulty establishing themselves in the different circumstances. A mooted alternative to the complex sterilization method, wherein the animal must first be captured, are hormonal implants that can be injected via darts.As with most native Australian animals, the koala cannot legally be kept as a pet in Australia or anywhere else. The only people who are permitted to keep koalas are wildlife carers and, occasionally, research scientists. These individuals are issued with special permits to care for koalas, but have to return them to the wild when they are either well enough or, in the case of joeys, old enough.  ~  GoodNews International

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