Home among the gum trees


Welcome addition: Koala and joey on high. Picture: Brian Thomas

BALNARRING conservationist Belinda Eden received some “lovely news” over the weekend. “On Saturday [we had our] first report of a koala joey,” she said.

“We haven’t seen one since we’ve been here so it’s really encouraging.”

Ms Eden said the joey would not have been long out of its mother’s pouch and was probably about six-seven months old.

“Once conceived, it is about 35 days until the birth of the joey,” she said. “The joey then makes its way unaided from the birth canal to the pouch where it stays for the next six-seven months.

“If mum doesn’t reproduce, the young koala will stay with mum longer, otherwise they leave and try to establish their own home range.”

Ms Eden described Balnarring as a special place that should be protected so it does not become overdeveloped or lose the habitat that is home to many species of precious wildlife (“Koalas get help from a friend” The News 10/11/20).

“When we moved here I felt a real responsibility to get involved and make it a priority to be informed about environmental issues,” she said. “My passion has obviously leaned towards issues impacting koalas.”

She said her story in The News had generated a “really positive response from people I’ve met, and it’s certainly assisted in drumming up conversation about koalas and their plight.”

Those interested in helping should retain mature gum trees and build “koala-friendly” fences that allow them to move between food sources. “We as a community need to act now by planting trees,” Ms Eden said. “The more, the better. All these little changes will ultimately make a big difference.”

First published in the Western Port News – 25 November 2020


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