On the second-last day on 2022 Koala Researcher Bart found a healthy young male koala in the You Yangs Branding Yard area. I (Janine) visited him a bit later in the afternoon, and I felt that I knew him.
He was big, muscular and unscarred. His fur, like all healthy wild koalas, was immaculate. It is hard to tell a koala’s age after they reach full size at about 3 years old, but young adults have a look of ‘chubby fitness’ that is lost in middle age. I guessed this koala was about 3 years old.
He looked down at me, wary, but not terrified. He lounged comfortably, high on a forked branch in a River Red Gum, the dappled shade of the tree’s translucent leaves rippling across his face. Just one hand held the branch, the other arm and both legs hung free. He seemed confident.
I zoomed in and snapped photographs of his nose while he looked at me, hoping to confirm his identity. A name popped into my head: Mimi, son of KiKi in 2019. But I couldn’t be sure – the last time I saw him he was a cheeky, charismatic baby who liked to bounce between trees!
Back home, I checked my koala nose file. My instinct was right – he was Mimi. Though the rest of his body had changed and grown much larger, his nose pattern – the white patches inside a koala’s nostrils – was still the same.
Even as a tiny joey, Mimi was confident. Barely a month after he first emerged from KiKi’s pouch, he was climbing around in her tree, tasting leaves. When he was 10 months old he became independent from his mum, and was seen all over Branding Yard. One time he was seen playing with a female joey of the same age – Yeera. In the morning they were in two different trees, 10 metres apart, then over the course of the day Mimi moved into the same tree as Yeera, messed around for a while, climbing, eating, grooming, then he came down, walked to another tree, jumped up, jumped down, walked to another tree. Though they were never seen to touch, this was playful behaviour and they were definitely drawn to and curious about each other. Watch:
Mimi (m) b 2019
KiKi – Gulkurguli
YuYu / Anzac?? Mear? / ???
GRANDMOTHER / GRANDFATHER GRANDMOTHER / GRANDFATHER
It’s really hard to be a young male koala. Read why here. So it was a relief to see Mimi, healthy and well.
We can make life easier for young male koalas like Mimi. We can start by planting 300,000 trees in the river systems and waterways around the You Yangs.
More information about Mimi and his family: https://www.echidnawalkabout.com.au/about-koala-mimi/