Protection for koalas

Two joeys cling to each other at an animal hospital before being placed with human caregivers. Later on, they’ll be released into the wild. ©Joel Sartore/National Geographic

The koala, cuddly symbol of a nation and one of the most beloved animals on the planet, is in crisis. Before Europeans settled Australia more than two centuries ago, about ten million koalas lived in a 1,500-mile-long swath of the east coast eucalyptus forests. Hunted for their luxurious fur, koalas were brought to the edge of extinction in the southern half of their range. In the northern half, Queensland, a million were killed in 1919 alone. After the last open season in Queensland was held in 1927, only tens of thousands remained.

Through the next half century their numbers slowly rebounded, in part due to efforts to relocate and recolonize them. Then urbanization began to take its toll. Habitat was lost, and diseases spread. With urbanization came the threat of dogs and highways. Since 1990, when about 430,000 koalas inhabited Australia, their numbers have dropped sharply. Because surveys are difficult, current population estimates vary widely—from a low of 44,000 by advocacy groups to a high of 300,000 by government agencies. More than a decade ago a survey of the Koala Coast, a 93,000-acre region in southeastern Queensland, estimated a koala population of 6,200; today there are believed to be around 2,000.

“Koalas are getting caught in fences and dying, being killed by dogs, struck by vehicles, even dying simply because a homeowner cut down several eucalyptus trees in his backyard,” says Deidré de Villiers, one of the chief koala researchers at the Queensland Department of Environment and Resource Management. For 15 years de Villiers, 38, has been tracking koalas, monitoring populations, studying the reasons for their decline, and creating guidelines to make development more koala-friendly.

De Villiers insists that koalas and humans can coexist in urban environments “if developers get on board with koala-sensitive designs,” such as lower speed limits for streets, green corridors for koala movement, and, most especially, preserving every precious eucalyptus tree. Unfortunately, koalas have another problem.

Full article from the May issue of National Geographic. To read the full published work, visit

Images and excerpt are from the May edition of National Geographic magazine, Koala Rescue.

Pets Add Life; Baby’s Story

I didn’t know it when I first saw those big, black, eyes staring back at me. I had no idea what this little dog would mean to our family, the only thing I did know was that she was meant to be ours, and she was going to make sure that happened. Well, it turns out her job was to bring my father’s smile back!

If you doubt that pets add life, then you have never met our Maltese Baby. After my dad had a stroke, he was extremely depressed and withdrawn for several months. It had effected him both physically and mentally, which can be a very sad thing to deal with. We just hadn’t realized how sad he was until Baby arrived.

Suddenly, this little white ball of fluff, with her silly antics and signature “waving to the people” move, had brought a smile back to my dad’s face. Not just a smile though, laughter, happiness, and a purpose. And somehow Baby knew it too, she knew that her job was to look after him. A self proclaimed therapy dog, she would follow him everywhere. If he so much as sneezed, she was right over to his side to make sure he was OK. And yes, my dad LOVES the attention that she showers on him everyday.

I can’t imagine a life without pets, it would feel so lonely. We love the joy and happiness they bring into our life. We are so happy to help Pets Add Life share this message, and hope that you will visit the Pets Add Life Facebook page and give them a like. Oh, and if you want to watch something funny be sure to check out their video, Pet Interviews- Guinea Pig.

I would love to know, how do pets add to your life?

This post is sponsored by the Pets Add Life campaign and the American Pet Products Association. I am being compensated for helping spread the word about the benefits and joys of pet ownership by sharing our story.