Koalas are thirsty for your help
This year for the University of Sydney's annual giving day, Pave the Way, the University rallied behind Dr Valentina Mella's research to help install more drinking stations for our koalas.
On a scorching, dry day, there’s nothing more important than hydration. But for koalas living in the Eastern states, extreme temperatures are drying out the eucalyptus leaves that once provided them with all the water they required.
Parched and overheated, Australia’s iconic koalas are growing desperate and changing their behaviour to cope with rising temperatures: they’re drinking.
This is a worrying behavioural change for an animal whose name is thought to have meant 'no drink' in one Australian Aboriginal language. Postdoctoral Research Associate Valentina Mella from the University of Sydney’s School of Life and Environmental Sciences - whose research uncovered this growing trend in the koala population, is hoping to make others aware about the dire impact the heat is having on koalas and what it could mean for their survival.
To help affected populations, Dr Mella has created koala drinking stations which can be placed high in trees to give struggling koalas access to safe drinking water.
The koalas that are part of the study are marked with uniquely numbered microchips and ear-tags for future identification, and they undergo regular health checks. Water stations are monitored using infra-red motion-sensor cameras and microchip readers to record visits by koalas, and to establish how many koalas access the same water points.
This study is the world-first to quantify the use of free water by koalas in the wild. Therefore, this project is vital to understand whether koala water supplementation can be used as a mitigation tool against heat-stress, and if the dramatic declines in koala numbers can be reduced over hot summers.
This project is fundamental for the ongoing protection of one of Australia's much loved native species.
Your gift to this project will help Dr Mella and her team to set up more koala drinking stations in threatened koala communities, and support more research to better understand how we can help our koalas in a changing climate.
Please make a donation on this page today to support our koalas.
Any donation over $2 is tax deductible, and 100% of what you give will go directly to the cause. If you're not in the position to give, please share this page to encourage your family and friends to make a donation.