Koala Breeding Season at Featherdale
14th January, 2015
These school holidays, check out Featherdale Wildlife Park's great mid-week special deal.
You could be forgiven for thinking that Koalas are placid, giant teddy bears who enjoy nothing more than sleeping and chewing on eucalyptus leaves all day. Recent visitors to Featherdale Wildlife Park in Western Sydney are being taught to think again, with the Park’s Koala breeding season now well and truly under way. Deep, guttural bellows which have been compared to a Lion’s roar or a grunting Hog, can be heard emanating from amorous male Koalas as they try to outdo each other and compete for the attentions of the ladies.
The mating itself is another unpleasant business. There’s no romantic courtship and certainly no lasting relationships forged during the process. Once the deed is done, the female Koala will have no further contact with the male and spends the next 35 days in solitude, awaiting the birth of her jelly-bean sized joey.
Featherdale’s breeding season generally occurs from August through to January each year and keepers soon hope to welcome the arrival of the season’s first joeys. Each year, the Park breeds between 4-6 Joeys and in its 42 years of operation, Featherdale has successfully bred over 210 Koalas. Once Joeys reach maturity, they will form part of Featherdale’s captive population or, be sent to other wildlife parks or zoos throughout the country to become part of their own breeding programs.
As threats to wild Koala populations increase, it is vitally important that Wildlife institutions such as Featherdale play a conservation role in highlighting the plight of the species. Road fatalities and introduced species such as dogs have decimated Koala numbers. However, it is the destruction of habitats through land clearing, bushfires and diseases of the eucalypts, such as ‘dieback', which have caused the greatest threat to the species. Koalas are now listed as vulnerable in the ACT, New South Wales and Queensland.
Featherdale currently houses one of Australia’s largest private collections of Koalas and provides daily free encounters where visitors are invited to get right up close and interact with these beautiful animals. These days, it is often unusual to see a Koala in the wild which makes these encounters a truly memorable experience.