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Baby koala Clancy left his mum last year to find a home of his own. Luckily, where he lives is part of the Koalas & Kangaroos IN THE WILD tour. On this special wildlife tour, travellers help make him a home.

“International travellers are so moved by seeing koalas IN THE WILD that they want to help protect them” says Janine Duffy, Koala Researcher, Echidna Walkabout. “We offer them the chance to pull some Boneseed weeds, thus making more habitat suitable for koalas like Clancy”.

Boneseed is an invasive weed that has taken over large areas in the You Yangs Regional Park, where Clancy lives. Thick infestations of Boneseed degrade koala habitat. Janine says “In our 7 years of research in the You Yangs we have noticed that Koalas don’t use areas heavily infested with Boneseed”.

For a year now, Echidna Walkabout and guests have been removing weeds from Clancy’s home range. “Our aim was to clear 5,000 weeds in the first year so that Clancy could live safely without having to fight for space” says Janine. “What we didn’t expect was such tremendous enthusiasm from our guests. We cleared Clancy’s home 4 months ahead of schedule, and we’re now working on his future girlfriend’s!

Could we be making a home for Son of Clancy soon?

About Boneseed weed
Boneseed Chrysanthemoides monilifera is a Weed of National Significance. “It is regarded as one of the worst weeds in Australia because of its invasiveness, potential for spread, and economic and environmental impacts” Commonwealth Department of Environment and Heritage.

In the You Yangs, Boneseed spread quickly after a bushfire and now infests 1300 hectares of the 2000 hectare park.

Our Koala Research in the You Yangs started in 2006 and we quickly realised that koalas are rarely seen in areas thickly infested with the weed. Boneseed may deprive the eucalyptus trees of water or nutrients, it may make ground travel difficult for the koalas, or it may simply upset the delicate natural balance of the ecosystem. It is clear that areas of koala habitat are being lost to the weed.

Removing Boneseed plants is easy. They have shallow roots, are non-toxic, soft and easy to pull out by hand.

We estimate that participants on our eco-tours will remove at least 5,000 Boneseed plants every year. That means that 5 hectares of land thickly-infested with Boneseed can be completely cleared of the weed. An average koala home range in the You Yangs is 5 hectares. So we will effectively create a home for a koala. That's one koala that could not have survived before.

We estimate that 5,000 weeds removed = 1 new koala home.

And the great news is so far we are removing more than expected!

KOALA CONSERVATION STATUS: Wild koalas in Australia are under threat from climate change, loss of habitat, drought and bushfire. Their conservation status is listed as Vulnerable in 3 states. In the You Yangs from 2009 to 2011 wild koala numbers halved due to drought. Immediate, dramatic action is required to protect them.

ABOUT KOALA CLANCY: Clancy is a young male koala, living wild in the You Yangs Regional Park near Melbourne. He is special because Echidna Walkabout Guides & Researchers have known him since he was born. He is the second son of Pat, one of our most frequently-seen koalas, and she too has been part of our Koala Research Project since she was a tiny joey.

Clancy was born in April/May 2010 and lived with his mother and grandmother until January 2012, when he was around 20 months old. Then, like most young males, he left the safety and comfort of his mother's home area and struck out to find himself a home.

Independence is a tough time for young male koalas. At 20 months they are not fully grown. Bigger, stronger, more experienced males dominate most of the suitable habitats and they don't welcome young rivals. In addition, with the growing threat of climate change, formerly-good habitats for koalas are becoming less suitable, and invasive weeds are further degrading what habitat remains.

The best way to help koalas survive in the wild is to create new habitat for them, and protect the habitat they currently have. Good quality habitat is the key to healthy wild koala populations.

Echidna Walkabout, with the help of our guests, hope to create one new koala home every year.

Also we have a Facebook special Note, with up to date pictures and comments, and we have all of Clancy's history in a Timeline on our page.

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