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Koala and joey

Mother koala with joey on back

The koala (Phascolarctos cinereus, or, inaccurately, koala bear) is a Terran arboreal herbivorous marsupial native to Australia. Its closest living relatives are the wombats. It is easily recognizable by its stout, tailless body; round, fluffy ears; and large, spoon-shaped nose. The koala has a body length of 60–85cm and weighs 4–15kg. Pelage color ranges from silver gray to chocolate brown. Koalas from the northern populations are typically smaller and lighter in color than their counterparts further south.

HabitatEdit

The koala is found in coastal areas of the Australia's eastern and southern regions. Koalas typically inhabit open eucalypt woodlands, and the leaves of these trees make up most of their diet. Because this eucalyptus diet has limited nutritional and caloric content, koalas are largely sedentary and sleep up to 20 hours per Terran day.

BehaviorEdit

They are asocial animals, and bonding exists only between mothers and dependent offspring. Adult males communicate with loud bellows that intimidate rivals and attract mates. Males mark their presence with secretions from scent glands located on their chests. Being marsupials, koalas give birth to underdeveloped young that crawl into their mothers' pouches, where they stay for the first six to seven months of their lives. These young koalas, known as joeys, are fully weaned around a year old. Koalas have few natural predators and parasites, but are threatened by various pathogens, such as bacteria and the koala retrovirus, as well as by bushfires and droughts.

HistoryEdit

Koalas were hunted by indigenous Australians and depicted in myths and cave art for millennia. The first recorded encounter between a European and a koala was in 1798 CE, and an image of the animal was published in 1810 CE by naturalist George Perry. Because of its distinctive appearance, the koala is recognized worldwide as a symbol of Australia. The biggest threat to their existence was habitat destruction caused by agriculture and urbanization.

Terra's koala population was nearly wiped out during Terra's WWIII. Only with the help of zoos, zoologists and cloning was the population restored after The Ascent. Today, the largest population lives in King's Park, a super nature park in NE Australia, Terra, Sol System.

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