May 3 is Wild Koala Day! A day to celebrate Koalas living in the wild! It is also about protecting their forests and planting new forests to replace what has been taken by land clearing and over-development.
Koalas are undoubtedly one of the most adorable animals on the planet and their mannerisms melt the hearts of visitors from near and afar.
On hot days, Koalas snooze in the funniest positions.
They have thin fur on their bellies and chests, and thick, highly-insulating fur on their backs. When it gets hot, they use these features to cool themselves in a clever and unexpected way.
By pressing their chest and belly against a cool, living tree branch, they lose heat. Its the same as pressing an ice pack against your neck.
Sometimes Koalas position the thin fur of their face against a tree trunk as well, shoving their features into a funny grimace.
Their back, covered in fur with insulating properties to rival polar bears, stops heat from entering.
On days that are hot, but not extreme, Koalas are masters of the sprawl.
They will often sit, legs stretched out either side of a branch, arms hanging from a tree fork – like the tree is their own personal recliner, with arm and foot rests positioned for maximum comfort.
Incredibly, they maintain their balance in the tops of 30-metre gum trees, even though they appear fast asleep. It is rare for a koala to fall.
Koalas are surprisingly agile in the trees - they will even jump from tree to tree sometimes.
There’s a serious side to these funny Koala positions. Koalas die at temperatures over 37 degrees Celsius if they can’t find shelter. With human-induced climate change warming the planet, Koalas now have to deal with deadly temperatures more often. In the summer of 2018-2019, they had to live through 12 days over the fatal temperature of 37 C.
They might find shelter for the 37-degree day, but what do they do on the 46-degree day? They had two of those this summer, which set a new record for the highest ever temperature in January.
Wildlife tour operator and Australian Wildlife Journeys member Echidna Walkabout Nature Tours are taking action to keep Koalas alive on these fatal days. Several staff members are employed on extreme heat days to provide water and shelter for Koalas, in the least invasive way. But ultimately, the only solution is to stop emissions from fossil fuels.
Echidna Walkabout Nature Tours and Koala Clancy Foundation are organisers of Wild Koala Day on May 3 – a day to protect Koala habitat, plant new trees and take action on climate change.
Wear a gum leaf on May 3 to show you support Koalas and forests.
Change your profile picture to a wild Koala for the day!
More information on how you can get involved in Wild Koala Day: https://www.echidnawalkabout.com.au/about/wild-koala-day/