Don’t be surprised if you see a cuddly teddy bear, well Koala actually, up a tree. This male koala (Phascolarctos cinereus; translating not surprisingly as ash coloured bear with a pouch) – let’s call him ‘Ted, was seen heading down Spring Valley Road, Flowerdale looking for a shady spot to spend the day out of the predicted heat. ‘Ted found paradise sitting on a branch of a River Red Gum (Eucalyptus camaldulensis) shaded by a Blackwood (Acacia melanoxylon)sapling. Just the place to kip for an average 20 hours on a 45o day
It wasn’t long before ‘Ted was in a deep sleep and I was able to get close enough to read his ear tag. I was wondering if it was my old friend 513 who I spotted on the road one night in October 2011. The underside of the blue tag was inscribed with DNRE F.I., which meant this is an old koala as the Department of Natural Resources and Environment has gone through a couple of name changes with successive governments over the last decade or so. The top ear tag was inscribed 513, confirming that this was the same animal I had seen on the corner of Spring Valley Road and Upper King Parrot Creek Road near Coonan’s Reserve just over 2 years ago.
‘Ted had a few scars on him that may indicate there are other male koalas in the area, but otherwise seemed in good health. After my sighting of ‘Ted in 2011, I received an email from Dr. Bram Mason, Threatened Species Program Manager, Port Phillip Region as follows
|Hi Steve,I have been passed your enquiry regarding the Koala sighting at Flowerdale. From our records this Blue 513 tag koala was caught and relocated to Mt Disappointment in 2004. Relocation was from French Island as part of koala and vegetation management on the Island. We will add your sighting to our records. It appears the koala has moved quite a distance over the last 7 years.Thanks again.Regards
‘Ted then is at least 10 years old, and has done well to survive bushfires and the roads. With an average life expectancy of 13, ‘Ted’s an old fellah who you may see around the area for a little while yet.
For more information visit www.savethekoala.com
View video footage of ‘Ted on http://youtu.be/3qQFkE3l_4Q