by Researcher Guide Hayley Forster
A beautiful sunny day, perfect for exploring the Aussie bush. Four guests all the way from the US were excited to enjoy a day of experiencing Australian wildlife in the wild.
We started the morning on an adventure exploring the bush in the You Yangs, looking for koalas. Our two koala researchers had been out searching for koalas since sunrise, and they had found a couple. But I find it always pays to look carefully wherever you go in the You Yangs – a koala could pop up anywhere.
Our first wild koala sighting was a bit tricky: adult female Wemba was hidden high up in the leaves.
But our luck soon turned as we headed over to visit the beautiful Kiki, a sweet young female koala.
We met my colleague Dan passing by with another group – they had just seen Kiki. They noted that she was in a great spot to view but had just been resting.
When we arrived she was sitting high in a Yellow Gum tucked up in a ball. A moment later she popped her head up and looked straight at us. We all gasped. She was so beautiful, she absolutely blew everyone away.
But that was just the beginning of the Kiki show. We stood quietly and watched her, fascinated. She looked all around, sniffing the air for a few minutes.
Then she decided it was time to find a new tree. She climbed down a few metres and stopped to look at us again.
I asked the guests to stand still so that she could feel completely safe. She decided to trust us, and continued to climb down the tree cautiously, stopping to look around every few steps.
Near the ground she stopped and sat for a minute, looking around and sniffing. Koalas are most vulnerable on the ground, so check in every direction before leaving the safety of the tree.
We all stood still watching in delight as Kiki began to walk on all fours on the ground. She started off slow and calm, then suddenly broke into a gallop to a big healthy Yellow Gum.
She sniffed the trunk of the tree to check who else had been there, then swiftly leaped up and climbed to a nice comfy fork mid way up, where she curled up to rest.
My guests could not wipe the smiles off their faces all day.
Seeing a wild koala is always a thrill. Watching koala Kiki’s wild adventure was more than exciting!
Read what to do when a koala starts to walk on the ground here.
When we slowed down Hayley’s great video of this day, we realised that KiKi had a baby bump!