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In the U.S.A. it would be deer...

AubieTurtle

Cyburbian
Messages
894
Points
21
I wonder if the koala's natural preditors have had a decline in population. Culling the population is not a wonderful thing to have to do, but like deer in the US who no longer have preditors to keep their numbers in check, it might be needed. The tought of starving koalas slowly suffering and dying is terrible. :(

I'm not sure about relocation. That might just mess up the ecosystem of where ever they are relocated to.
 

nerudite

Cyburbian
Messages
6,544
Points
30
This is slightly OT, but I just heard of it a few days ago. I was listening to a radio programme about Fraser Island in Australia, which is an even smaller ecosystem than the mainland. They talked about koala bears that had been starved for long periods of time that ended up 'going carnivore'. The guy on the radio show, who was a local tour guide, was telling the tourists not to go into the jungle at night because of the Drop Bear, a koala-like bear that drops from the branches and mauls it's prey. I had never heard of this before. Does anyone know if it 1) is true or 2) the differences between drop bears and koalas?
 
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7,649
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29
Nerudite, the article that I linked to was about an island (Kangaroo Island). Koalas are dying off on the mainland due to habitat desctruction.

One of the problems with a cull is the effect it can have on the remaining population. Starvation is a tragedy but it is natural. A cull is a large scale hunt. In some country in Africa, they had a cull policy with elephants. Well, one of the issues is "what do you do with the bodies?" They decided to not leave them to rot and ... made canned elephant. So then you have a factory (and a market) which now wants a constant supply. It is not too different from the research cited in "Diet for a Small Planet": anyplace the U.S. sends famine aid ends up worse off because we import typical American foods, people develop a taste for the American diet (which cannot be sustainably grown locally and which the poorest families cannot afford) and we leave our cultural imprint in our wake, with serious negative consequences.

They also found that the elephants were terrified of the sound of helicopters (the means by which they did the cull -- shooting them from the air). And it can have terrible social consequences because humans make arbitrary decisions about "who" gets to live. With the elephants, naturally, the humans decided to kill off the old and leave viable young animals. This lead to a generation of adolescent animals growing up without adults to guide them. They began having issues they never had before. Think "Lord of the Flies". The adolescent animals became the elephant equivalent of "gang members". You had elephants getting injured by run-ins with hippos (hippos have wicked fangs and are one of the few animals really equipped to seriously harm an elephant) and stuff like that -- things previously unheard of. Elephants have a very sophisticated social structure and are highly intelligent. Human inteference had a lot of unexpected consequences.

The elephant expert that got hired (perhaps in a different country) -- someone sympathetic to the elephants, someone who had studied them for years and who was brought in to deal humanely with the situation -- had to deal with hunts when a rogue elephant was wreaking havoc on some poor village. But she found methods to make sure they killed the actual rogue and not whatever elephant they came across that happened to be in the area. I believe she concluded that, in cases of drought or other causes of famine, leaving the animals to starve was more humane and less damaging to the elephant population. Starvation was something they understood. Having hunters come in on top of being in the midst of starving was cruel.

Basically, I don't think there are any easy answers. But it makes me think of the Sunset Zoo in Manhattan, Kansas and its little grove of bamboo. They were trying to grow their own local supply of bamboo for the red pandas (which are much smaller than the ones most of us are familiar with). Perhaps someone will create a preserve or begin growing the specialized kind of tree koalas eat and then you could import koalas when you have a situation like this. Habitat destruction is a huge problem and is one of the biggest threats to any animal species.

The problem with a cull is that it sets a precedent with all kinds of unintended consequences. And I am glad they are reintroducing wolves to some parts of the U.S. where they have been "extinct" in recent years.
 
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nerudite

Cyburbian
Messages
6,544
Points
30
Michele Zone said:
Nerudite, the article that I linked to was about an island (Kangaroo Island). Koalas are dying off on the mainland due to habitat desctruction.
.
I know. That's why I said it was off-topic. It reminded me of the guy I heard on a radio programme about a tourist locale in Australia, and I didn't know if he was being serious or not about the 'drop bear'. Maybe I should have started a new thread, because I didn't mean to incite a big response that had nothing to do with my silly question.

AubieTurtle said:
Drop bear = urban legend
Thank you! Please continue with your on-topic discussion... sorry for the veer.
 
Messages
7,649
Points
29
nerudite said:
I know. That's why I said it was off-topic. It reminded me of the guy I heard on a radio programme about a tourist locale in Australia, and I didn't know if he was being serious or not about the 'drop bear'. Maybe I should have started a new thread, because I didn't mean to incite a big response that had nothing to do with my silly question.
Oh, sorry. Please don't take it that way. I was just clarifying. Only the first couple of sentences were a response to "you". I might have written more when I posted the link, but I was going back to bed.
 

Rem

Cyburbian
Messages
1,523
Points
23
Relocation is the more likely scenario. Koalas are threatened in many areas due to habitat destruction so it would be illogical to allow a pool of healthy animals to be destroyed. There are introduced diseases that affect them as well, such as chlamydia. My understanding is that the koalas were not endemic to Kangaroo Island but introduced as a measure to protect them from extinction in the wild many years ago when they weren't protected in South Australia (Kangaroo Island is in SA).

Aubie Turtle, I'm not sure Koalas have any natural predators. Their population was probably controlled by climate and habitat in pre-European Australia. Dingoes are our only significant, native carnivores and a Koala would not be easy prey for a dingo. This site would be a good starting point for information on Koalas. Note there is a media release on the cull and the tenet the Koala savers are pushing is there are too few trees, not too many Koalas.

AubieTurtle said:
Drop bear = urban legend
Nerudite, AT is right - no drop bears. It is a story parents tell their kids (and tourists) when sitting around the camp fire at night to scare them. A local rum company ran an advertisement recently mocking the legend using their mascot (a polar bear) falling from a tree to scare some swedish tourists into the arms of the bear's mates. The ad. isn't on their website but some other funny ads dealing with 'the Australian condition' are.

Fraser Island is a real place BTW, the largest sand island in the world, and regarded by most Australians as a must visit location. I haven't visited there yet.
 

nerudite

Cyburbian
Messages
6,544
Points
30
Rem said:
Nerudite, AT is right - no drop bears. It is a story parents tell their kids (and tourists) when sitting around the camp fire at night to scare them. {snip}
Fraser Island is a real place BTW, the largest sand island in the world, and regarded by most Australians as a must visit location. I haven't visited there yet.
Yeah, I was listening to my favourite radio show, a backpacker traveling show, that was featuring Fraser Island. The guy started talking about drop bears, and with all the wacky evolution that has happened on Australia, I guess I was a bit too gullible. Thanks for the clarification. I'll just consider the drop bear the jackalope of Australia. :)
 

FueledByRamen

Cyburbian
Messages
449
Points
13
They should just catch 20,000 and sell them to Americans. We love us some exotic pets!

Hell, might as well introduce them to the wild here in Texas like we have done with Red Foxes, Axis Deer, Nutria, and other "game" animals and clear out those "undesirable" ones that take up space that used to be abundant in the state: Black Bears, Grizzlys, Bison, Grey Wolves, Jaguwars....etc etc etc...

*btw, this was a highly sarcastic post* :eek:|
 

The One

Cyburbian
Messages
8,289
Points
30
Hmm....Maybe a new introduction is in order.....

Perhaps someone should introduce the Grizzly into the outback :-D ....Could you imagine....much to hot though.... How about the Mt. Lion 8-! ? or Wolverine :-c ? It seems as though virtually every other animal down there is introduced (according to the Croc. Hunter)
 
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