8 million

The number of koalas killed for their coats between 1888 and 1927.

Koala up a eucalyptus tree, looking over her shoulder

 

 

Mysterious Icons

Hunted for their fur, koala populations dropped dramatically between 1888 and 1927, leaving fewer than 300,000 in existence. Today, koalas face new threats: they’re hit by cars, attacked by dogs, and suffer from a disease that has spread through most of the remaining population. Adding to the crisis, brushfires are forcing the vanishing koala from its forest home. But while these brutal fires take a toll on koalas, they also give scientists a chance to observe and document them, unhidden, in the wild.

We still have a lot to learn about these cuddly-looking marsupials. San Diego Zoo Global is working in Australia to study wild koalas, because knowing more about their migratory paths, genetic diversity, and reproductive behaviors will help us save them.

 

 

A mother koala crosses an asphalt road with her baby joey clinging to her back. A road sign warns vehicle drivers to keep an eye out for koalas on the next 4 km stretch of road.

Koalas face habitat loss and other dangers, due to the urbanization of rural and wild areas.

300

Koalas killed by cars every year, in just one small area of Australia.

Vanishing Forests, Vanishing Homes

Koalas rely on eucalyptus as their sole source of food and shelter. The leafy trees provide shade and keep koalas fed and off the ground, away from predators. But being dependent in this way is risky because if eucalyptus forests disappear, koalas will too. And eucalyptus forests are disappearing, through human encroachment and climate change, threatening koalas and their homes.

Koala holding onto foot of joey in her pouch as she sits in a eucalyptus tree on St. Bees Island, Australia

Together, we can
turn things around.

96%

Percentage of the total koala population killed in the last 100 years.

Researcher releasing koala back to her tree with radio tracking collar and i.d. tag.

A researcher releases a koala back into her tree, outfitted with a tracking collar and an identification tag.

 

 

A Global Community

Our teams of conservationists and partners work "down under" to track and study these gentle animals in their native habitats. We also use what we’ve learned from the koalas in our care to help wild populations. In fact, San Diego Zoo Global has the most successful koala breeding program in the world and the largest colony of koalas outside of Australia. These efforts have helped us protect these special animals and their habitat in the wild.

 

 

Researcher gingerly readies adult koala for exam in the wild. Baby koala joey held in warm cloth pouch by a researcher. Adult koala climbing up tree with new tracking color on.

San Diego Zoo Global researchers hold a young joey in a warm blanket while its mother receives a wellness check and a tracking collar that will help inform koala conservation efforts.

18-22

Hours a day koalas sleep, usually up in trees.

We can't imagine a world without koalas. And with your support of the San Diego Zoo Global Wildlife Conservancy, we'll continue lifesaving efforts to ensure that koalas can make a mighty comeback. We need your help today.

mother koala with baby riding piggy-back as she sits on a low branch.