Koala Clancy is the most famous wild koala in the world and he lives in the You Yangs. On facebook he has 46,000 followers, he has been filmed for documentaries that have shown all over the world, and the internationally-celebrated Wild Koala Day occurs on his birthday every year: 3 May. Koala Clancy Foundation is named after him.
Of all the interesting koalas in the You Yangs, we did we choose him as our name and mascot? Well, he made himself irresistible. From the very first day we met him, he was special. It was November 2010, and we were running a charity tour for some families with very sick children. We had found Pat, but had no idea that she had a joey in her pouch. So when he popped his head out from under Pat’s protective arms, we were all amazed.
The family I was with had a very sick daughter, so sick she wasn’t able to come. Her brother asked if we could name the joey after her. Her name, he said, is Clancy.
The adventures didn’t stop there. Flooding rains closed the You Yangs for 6 months in 2011, and we were unable to continue our research in the park. We knew that most young male koalas leave their mothers at 10 – 12 months old, so we resigned ourselves that Clancy would be gone by the time we could resume our research.
It came as an enormous relief to go back into the park in August 2011 and find Clancy, still living in his mother’s home range. He was 14 months old. He actually stayed with her until he was 20 months – much longer than normal for a male joey.
Then, as expected, he left to find his own home. Most young males travel a lot before they find a safe habitat where they can live unmolested by mature males. It can take years. Clancy headed east, to Branding Yard. A few days later we found him in the same tree as supremely-powerful dominant male Winberry. Things looked bad for Clancy.
Luckily, either Winberry was gentle, or Clancy was clever – and the next time we saw Clancy he was far away and unhurt.
For the next few years he lived safely in an area of Branding Yard that was outside Winberry’s home range. He grew bigger and stronger, and over time he took over the territories of several other mature males. By 2017 he took on Winberry, and this time he won.
Even before then, he fathered a few joeys. Then as dominant male he was responsible for a new crop of joeys, including a beautiful daughter Lulu and cheeky boy Bunyip.
Then, abruptly, he disappeared. At the same time a new, very big strong male, Gulkurguli, appeared in the area – and he took the crown from Clancy and still retains it to this day.
However Clancy has been seen, in another part of the You Yangs. We think he has probably found himself a lovely spot and settled down again. We just haven’t found out where that is yet. Keep your eyes out!