The Koala can be found across the eastern states of Australia from the tropics to the cool temperate regions, but only within areas where there are acceptable food trees. Koalas mainly feed on the foliage of eucalypts, such as the River Red Gum and Forest Red Gum in the north, and the Grey Gum, Manna Gum, Swamp Gum and Blue Gum in the south-east.
Many other eucalypts and some non-eucalypts may also be eaten by Koalas, who have local and seasonal preferences toward different plant species.
As eucalypt leaves have a high water content, Koalas don't normally have to drink to obtain enough water. Eucalypt leaves also have a high fibre and low protein content. They contain strong smelling oils and a number of chemicals which make them unpalatable or even poisonous to many other mammals, but the Koala is well adapted to this diet.
Koalas sleep in a fork of tree branches for most of the day. They move about at night and feed, and are most active just after sunset.
Koalas are able to climb tree trunks due to their sharp claws. They can also travel on the ground, and walk with a bounding movement.
Breeding happens in summer and most females produce one young each year. Twins are very rare. The baby stays in the pouch for 7 months. After leaving the pouch the baby will travel on the mother's back, and is fully weaned and independent by about 12 months.
By about 18 months, the young will usually move away from the area it was born. Mortality may be high during this phase of life.
Females become sexually mature at 2 years of age, and males at 3-4 years.
Koalas are the only arboreal (tree dwelling) marsupial that lack a tail.
Gunnedah Koala Habitats and Climate Change
A project funded by the Foundation for National Parks & Wildlife in the Gunnedah region of New South Wales is conducting research into a very important question — which trees do Koalas use most?
Koaladoors aims to create wildlife corridors to link remaining areas of bushland in south west Victoria. This will improve the genetic health and wellbeing of many native animals, including the Koala. The Foundation for National Parks & Wildlife has provided funding for a number of years so that appropriate native species are planted in strategic areas to link Koala habitats.
Koala Conservation Grants in the Redland City Council Area
During 2009 and 2010, the Foundation for National Parks & Wildlife, AGA Germany and the Redlands City Council partnered to contribute funds to restore Koala habitats in the Redlands area. With the funds, Koala Conservation Grants of $500 to $2,000 were given to owners of properties in the Redland City Council area that have Koala Conservation Agreements on their properties through the council's Koala Conservation Agreement Program (KCAP).
Koala Community Plantings
This project will be used to educate the local Redland community on the benefits of restoring a target area for Koalas, wildlife and the local environment. Currently, the site is infested with environmental weeds. Large-scale weed control, site preparation and planting of up to 5000 local native plants will take place on the site. It is the first stage of connecting a corridor for a wildlife and Koala linkage.
Find out more about the Koala Action Group community plantings in the media!
Koalas in the Otways
The Foundation is supporting Koala research in the Otway region of Victoria. The project will determine how high-density Koala populations utilise their habitat and respond to environmental change. It will also determine the impacts of Koala over-browsing on birds, and small mammals in Manna Gum woodlands.