RARE BEAR DROPS IN TO SUBUR­BIA

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - JANE AR­MIT­STEAD

A TOWNSVILLE man said it was like “win­ning the lotto” when he found a koala hang­ing out in his backyard.

Mick Wa­ters thought it was a joke when his daugh­ter told him she saw the mar­su­pial sit­ting in a gum tree at their Her­vey Range Rd home in the Bohle yesterday.

“I just said to my daugh­ter, ‘ are you sure it wasn’t a pos­sum in a jacket?’” Mr Wa­ters joked.

“I couldn’t be­lieve it; I have lived in Townsville for 52 years and I’ve never seen a koala in the wild. It’s like win­ning the lotto,” he laughed.

North Queens­land Wildlife carer Clare Bald­win said it was ex­tremely rare for a koala to be seen in the wild in Townsville.

She said it was the sec­ond koala in three weeks to be spot­ted in the city, with one taken into care on Mag­netic Is­land af­ter it was in­jured by a car on the Ring Rd in Dou­glas.

She said koalas were only ever seen ev­ery three to four years in Townsville.

“They aren’t nor­mally in this area. They have colonies on Mag­netic Is­land and we’ve heard of some in Oak Val­ley and Al­li­ga­tor Creek, but never in Townsville,” she said.

Ms Bald­win thought the ex­tremely dry con­di­tions had driven the koalas into the sub­urbs for food.

“We’re con­fused as to why we’re see­ing so many in subur­bia,” she said.

Pic­ture: SCOTT RAD­FORD- CHISHOLM

UN­USUAL SIGHT: Mick Wa­ters with daugh­ter Sonya, 12, un­der the tree in their backyard which has be­come home to a koala ( inset).

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