August Koala of the month is Emma!
This dear little lady has been a friend since 29th March 2006 – can you believe that? 9.5 years! Emma has been delighting international travellers for nearly 10 years. Aren’t we lucky to know her?
We are not sure exactly how old she is, but in 2006 we thought she looked around 3-4 years old. That would make her at least 12 or 13 years old now.
Emma has always been a small female, and has never been seen with a joey. Though that sounds surprising, its not. A high proportion of our wild females never raise a joey. Of eleven females currently living in our main research area, only three have ever been seen with joeys. A few of those females are new, so may produce young, but this has been the pattern over all of our 17 years of koala research, both in the You Yangs and Brisbane Ranges.
We are not sure of the reason, but we can’t just assume its chlamydia. Though the You Yangs & Brisbane Ranges populations are Chlamydia-positive, the disease rarely manifests in any way we can see. Chlamydia could be the cause, but it could be something else. Or it could be normal for koalas to have a low birth rate in these habitats.
It doesn’t matter to us whether she is a mother or not – she is a valuable member of the koala community and we love her!