In the You Yangs, in southern Victoria, a new koala joey has emerged from his mum’s pouch.
His name is Goim, which means Kangaroo in the local Wathaurong/Wadawurrung First Nations language. He is named for his big, mobile, expressive ears – a bit like a kangaroo’s.
The You Yangs wild koala population has been monitored by the researchers at Koala Clancy Foundation & Echidna Walkabout since 2006. Koala joeys born in the population are named, photographed and their distinctive nose patterns documented. Sometimes they stay in the area for all their lives and have their own joeys.
Goim is the sixth joey born to wild koala Ngardang. Ngardang has lived her whole life in the You Yangs, Victoria research program, and was named as a joey in late 2013 when she emerged from her mother Babarrang’s pouch. Babarrang was first seen in early 2013 as a young mature female with an advanced joey – Ngardang’s older sibling.
We first saw Goim in September 2022. He may have emerged a few weeks earlier, but our research days have been reduced due to the very slow return of tourism (which funded our research) so we didn’t see him until then.
Since then, joey Goim has been alert and curious about us. He never fails to sneak a peek at us as soon as he can, and then, satisfied, he goes on to nuzzle his mum, or climb up the branch above her. He looks very healthy and confident.
Goim (m?) b 2022; Kallama (m) b. 2020; Winjku (f) b. 2019
Ngardang b 2013 – Gulkurguli ?
Babarrang – Vincent ?
Who does Goim share his habitat with?
At the moment his habitat is his mother’s habitat. So the koalas he would know best are his half-sister Lakorra, his father Gulkurguli, his grandmother Babarrang and his neighbour KiKi. Not far away to the south lives his aunt Djadja.
How will climate change affect him?
While he is with his mother his challenges will be her challenges. If she can’t get enough good food she might wean him early, or his milk might be less sustaining. If she doesn’t have much energy she might not teach him thoroughly about the dangers of life in the bush.
Once he leaves her and becomes independent, he will have a struggle. Habitat is becoming hard to find, and what exists is taken by big strong adults. No-one will want him, and he will be too small for fight for his place.
That’s why planting new, quality habitat is so important. Our healthy You Yangs koalas are breeding and doing their best to keep their species alive, but if the new generation have nowhere to go, what then?
How will our tree planting projects help him?
He could be one of the first koalas to try the 2456 trees we planted in 2022 at the You Yangs – Little River Koala Link, or the 2924 trees we planted at the Red Gum Floodplain, all in southern Victoria.