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Koala and cub at drinking station © University of Sydney

Koala and cub at drinking station © University of Sydney

Koalas beating the heat with a drink

04 Oct 2019

Keywords
  • koalas

The word ‘koala’ is long thought to have meant ‘no drink’ or ‘no water’ because, for the most part, koalas derive the moisture they need from the leaves they eat.

 

But sadly, due to climate change, the sight of a koala having a quick drink from a water source is becoming more common.

 

Prolonged heatwaves and droughts are reducing the nutritional value of their main food source - eucalyptus leaves.

 

This means more and more koalas are having to come down from the safety of their homes in order to find water anywhere they can find it. This puts them at risk of being hit by a car, attacked by dogs or livestock, or exposed to prolonged stress.

 

Thankfully, the University of Sydney have found an innovative way to ensure koalas are getting the hydration they need.

 

They’ve found that during times of excessive heat koalas need to drink from alternative water sources to avoid severe dehydration. That’s where koala drinking stations come in.

 

Check out this incredible video showing the koala drinking stations in action! A thirsty koala is joined by a possum and a frog.

 

 

Dr Mella from the University of Sydney has been conducting fieldwork in Gunnedah, western NSW, after a 2009 heatwave killed an estimated one quarter of the town’s koala population.

 

The results are promising, with the results (and the video) showing that koalas regularly use these stations to support their water needs.

 

WWF-Australia is proud to be partnering with the University of Sydney to support this simple, but innovative solution. WWF-Australia supporters successfully helped raise funds to help build and distribute more of these stations in key koala habitats in country NSW, so koalas can survive the coming hot, dry summer.