Koala: Origins of an Icon

Koala: Origins of an Icon

Koala: Origins of an Icon

Koala: Origins of an Icon

Excerpt

If you were to take a straw poll of the animal most closely associated with Australia, it's a fair bet that the koala would come out marginally in front of the kangaroo. Instantly recognisable by its large fluff years, spoon-shaped nose and bright button eyes, the koala is an undeniable drawcard at zoos and fauna parks, an advertising icon and the inspiration behind millions of soft toys, games and gimmicks. Today we see this species as an icon, a valuable attraction at Australian zoos and fauna parks and a species sought after by zoos around the world. But has the koala always been so popular? What makes the koala so special? Indeed, if it is so special, why is it considered by many to be vulnerable to extinction in much of its traditional habitat?

Australia's Aborigines acknowledge the koala's significance to their day-to-day lives in a wealth of Dreamtime stories. These legends tell how the koala lost his tail and why he has so little need of water. Many of the stories of the early European settlers portray the koala as being sly, or secretive, which perhaps explains why the settlers did not discover it until almost ten . . .

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