The Koala | Preserving A National Treasure

A portrait of a well feed and content Koala sitting in a tree near Cape Otway in Victoria, Australia.

Who doesn’t love a koala? They’re beautiful, mostly docile and very, very cuddly. I’d say they’re next to the panda or baby gorilla in regards to cuteness. And what determines cuteness, I suspect, is related very much to what we perceive as human qualities in these most beautiful animals.

A Dragon Fly Greeting The Day

But, unlike the koala, there is virtually no chance of you or I seeing a panda in the wild. They are way too reclusive to allow such a meeting. And, even in captivity, by which I mean a zoo or captive breeding program, you wouldn’t want to get to close to a panda as a surf on Google or YouTube will testify. I like my testicles just where they are, thank you very much.

A dragon fly, at rest, near the base of the Sheoak Falls in the Great Otway National Park, Australia.

The Koala In The Face Of Great Danger 

I made the photo of the koala way back in 2006 with the Canon 5D, my very first DSLR camera, near Cape Otway in south eastern Australia. It’s a lovely, though often windy part of the country with lots of eucalyptus trees including the ones which leaves constitute the diet of the koala.

In some parts of the country a loss of habitat has caused koalas to starve and die. Fire can also have a disastrous effect on koala populations.

Rain drops on grass, Otways, Australia.

The Need To Balance Our Wants And Desires

However, around Cape Otway the problem reversed. An abundance of food resulted in a dramatic increase in koala population, which tourists loved. Unfortunately, the koalas depleted the local food supply to an event that they faced starvation. This fact is evidenced in large areas of denuded trees and supported in this article from ABC news online.

Just last week a more recent news report suggested that, with a more sustainable koala population in the Cape Otway region, the trees are now making a slow, but steady come back.

The balance between the natural and man-made world will underpin our survival into the future. Likewise the balance between the wants and desires of each of us, as tourists, and the laws that underpin the natural world are a fascinating and politically sensitive issue.

I vote for the koala.

Glenn Guy, Travel Photography Guru