Koalas In Their Environment
Every year, the Natural History Museum in the UK hold the prestigious BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year. This year, they got over 43,000 entries from 92 countries. As I did last year, I entered a few images and two of my images made it to the semi-finals. One of the images that I submitted was of this Koala family. It was submitted in the Animal Behaviour: Mammals.
Story Behind The Photo (SBTP)
This past summer, while spending some time at Cape Otway, Victoria, we were treated to lots of koala encounters. We tend not to come across too many koalas around Newcastle. However, around Cape Otway we got to see lots of them. On one occasion, we spotted over a dozen koalas within one kilometre of each other. Almost every second tree you looked in you would find a koala.
Koalas tend not to move very much, especially during the day, they sleep 16 to 18 hours. Most of the ones I have seen tend to be asleep, sometimes in what seems to be the most awkward of positions! On one of our daily walks, we stumble upon this Koala and her joey in a tree that was just off the track and they were in the lower branches, you could almost touch them.
As I said, there are a lot of koalas in this region. This was just outside the Great Otway National Park. There are so many in fact that they are eating themselves out of their habitat, so goes the theory anyway. As it is illustrated in this photo, the eucalyptus tree was getting quite denuded of leaves. Mom and her joey were happily munching along. There are still plenty of trees around in this area so I don’t see them going hungry.
Loss of habitat is actually the largest threat to the koala. As the forests are cut down, the koalas get more and more concentrated in pockets of eucalyptus forests. In areas like Cape Otway, it was common to see lots of koalas over short distances.
When making this photo, I chose to have it busy with all of the mostly bare branches, it illustrates the fact that in some cases, they are eating themselves out of a home.