Some years ago, we were camping in a spectacular National Park in the West of Victoria, Australia. The park is in the Grampian Mountains and has flora and fauna which are nothing less than amazing and spectacular.
Koalas are not found everywhere in Australia, and where they do exist, they are very shy and elusive and jolly difficult to see. I believe that very few Australians have come across these animals in the wild for these reasons.
I had never seen a Koala in the wild, but I had been assured that Koalas lived in this park. Keen to spot one, we all spent hours peering into the tops of trees, looking for a nice fork, which is where one would imagine the sleepy animals would be perched. But the days went by and we finally gave up.
Imagine our surprise then, as we were walking up a commonly used path to a lookout, when a large male Koala came casually sauntering down the track. He was not too put out by our presence, but sat down in the middle of the path and patiently waited for us to get out of his road and give him sufficient space to pass (this included a wide berth between people and himself!). We moved away and he got up and continued on his way!
So all that peering into the trees was the wrong place to look!
Sadly, their populations are seriously threatened in many locations. Habitat competition and destruction as well as serious diseases are all taking their toll. I feel very privileged to have seen this animal, and to be able to watch it moving about instead of being asleep as they usually are during the day 🙂
Please note that the photos on this post were taken with a zoom camera. The animal was not that close!