John placed the cage at the eucalyptus’ base, opened it, and off he jumped! So agile, he stopped halfway and looked down at us, humans on the ground looking up at him.

Koala is up Again

Giulia Lepori

John was his name. I heard his voice before I saw him, talking on the phone about rescuing a kangaroo somewhere. I was lying on the grass at Mt Gravatt Lookout and had just started reading, when I saw him walking past carrying a small cage half covered with a baby blanket.

“I’m just about to release a koala, if you folks are interested!” – he said.
“Can we come with you?” – I asked.
“’Course you can!” – he replied.

Following the man a group gathered as I spotted the grey fur through the moving blanket. Our little procession lasted 50 meters or so, to the nearest appropriate tree. John placed the cage at the eucalyptus’ base, opened it, and off he jumped! So agile, he stopped halfway and looked down at us, humans on the ground looking up at him.

Koala had been hit by a car a couple of days before and thanks to RSPCA volunteers survived the accident. I learnt that, given the right habitat and life conditions, koalas can live up to 10 years. This one was only a young adult. An adolescent. The coming season will mark his first mating experiences.

I also learnt that I could distinguish females from males because the latter have a dark stripe across the chest, which gets darker during mating season releasing pheromones to attract possible partners.

As my partner and I were being enchanted by John’s lessons on wildlife, Koala sat, up again, having already reached one of the gum’s highest branches.

Author Bio: Giulia is a doctoral candidate in the environmental humanities at Griffith University, who enjoys walking attentively.

Location: Mt Gravatt, Queensland, Australia