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Koalas can be hard to find without a Koala Researcher
Koalas are known as one of Australia's well-known mascots but have you ever seen a koala in the wild? Melbourne-based social enterprise Echidna Walkabout Nature Tours have organised Koala Conservation Days for concerned locals; a day to learn, meet and help koalas continue on living in their natural habitat.
Koala Conservation Days for Locals run once a month on the following days:
Saturday May 16th
Sunday 14th June
Friday 10th July (school Holidays)
Sunday 30th August
Monday 21st September
Special days can be organised for school and community groups.
Group of Koala Conversationalists. Photography by Kirby Leary
The group will search well-known Koala Habitat in the You Yangs bush land, with the experienced and passionate Koala Researchers. The guides will take participants on a tour, looking out for koalas and Australian Wildlife. Once a koala is spotted, one person at a time - to ensure the Koala does not stress - will be situated close by with binoculars and a Koala Diary. Researchers will monitor and record the koala's behaviour. Be surprised at how much a 'sleepy' koala actually moves!
The group will not only see Koalas, it is likely Echidnas, Aussie birds and Kangaroos will pop out along the way - all of which will be aware you're in their habitat long before you notice them.
The team will also assist remove the thick infestations of boneseed weed from the Koala's habitat. Boneseed is an invasive weed that has taken over large areas in the You Yangs Regional Park, where Koala's like Clancy live. The good news is, the weed is very easy to remove, I've particpated in removal and it only requires a pair of gloves (provided on the day), a quick stomp on and a small tug!
Since 2011 Echidna Walkabout and guests have been removing weeds from Koala Clancy's home range. "Our aim was to clear 5,000 weeds in the first year so that Clancy could live safely without having to fight for space" says Janine. "What we didn't expect was such tremendous enthusiasm from our guests. We cleared Clancy's home 4 months ahead of schedule, and we're now working on his future girlfriend's!"
Janine Duffy, Echidna Walkabout Nature Tours & Wildlife Research says "In our 7 years of research in the You Yangs we have noticed that Koalas don't use areas heavily infested with Boneseed".
Since commencing the 'Make a Home for Koala Clancy project' wild koala sightings in the area have gone up 370%.Teamwork and the passion that comes from Koala Researchers and local volunteers really does help!
Recent news stories and social media pages have shown how passionately Australians feel about helping koalas. Echidna Walkabout has been overwhelmed by the response to their Koala Conservation Days for Locals with every day of the last program selling out. Duffy says. "We want to share what we've learned about local koalas, and at the same time increase the koala population by creating more habitat."
Participation costs just $20, 100% of which goes to supporting koalas. Duffy encourages anyone who lives locally to attend - kids over 7 years old are welcome too – but book early as these days are popular! Book here.