The Koala - threatened by its popularity

the koala The Koala (Phascolarctos cinereus) is found on the East coast of Australia. It's scientific name comes from phaskolos meaning "pouch" and; arktos meaning "bear". The Koala's original name was "New Holland Sloth" and also called it the "Koalo Bear", but also the "Ursine Sloth" because of the bear-like shape of the neck and the shoulders. They almost solely feed on eucalyptus leaves, a strange evolutionary twist since eucalyptus leaves are low in protein and hard to digest and toxic (!?!). Koalas have, just like wombats and sloths, a very low metabolic rate, they only are active 4 hours a day, the other sleeping and resting. Threatened by excessive hunting for its fur, the species almost became extinct in the 20th century. The increase in population of humans in the area threatens the koala population, since the koalas require large connected forests to ensure genetic diversity and humans bring along roads and cut forests. On Kangaroo Island in Australia the opposite problem exists, there are too many, mainly because of the absence of predators. There are already four times the number of koalas the island can support according to some biologists. The popularity of the Koala has made the possibility of a cull politically improbable (read more on Koala cull: the Kangaroo Island controversy).

Image of the koala: A Koala climbing up a tree.">Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 License

Which zoos have them?
Edinburgh Zoo (United Kingdom) and Los Angeles Zoo (United States)

The Koala is listed as Near Threatened (LR/nt), is close to qualifying for or is likely to qualify for a threatened category in the near future, on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species

Namings for the koala
A young / baby of a koala is called a 'joey'.
Some facts about the

Adult weight : 9.3 kg (20.46 lbs)

Maximum longevity : 22 years

Female maturity :646 days

Male maturity : 1095 days

Gestation : 31 days

Weaning : 342 days

Litter size : 1

Interval between litters : 471 days

Weight at weaning : 1.155 kg (2.541 lbs)

Basal metabolic rate : 6 W

Body mass : 4.732 kg (10.4104 lbs)

Temperature : 35.85 °C (96.53 °F)

Source: AnAge, licensed under CC

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