Origin of name:
Carninje is named to honour the Carninje Balug People of the Wathaurong or Burrumbeet tribe. Their clan area is around Linton, west of Mt Buninyong.
She was first seen on 30 November 2011 as a mature, breeding female koala. She appeared to be more than 3 years old, so she would have been born earlier than 2008. She was seen on a regular basis until January 2014, then disappeared for four years.
Her daughter Moijerre stayed in her mother’s old home range until December 2014, then she disappeared as well.
Carninje re-appeared as an older female koala, near her old home range, in December 2018.
How often seen:
In summer 2018/2019 she has been seen 10+ times, but she only re-appeared in December.
Carninje had joey Keyeet (f) in 2011, and Moijerre (f) late in 2012. Their fathers were probably Winberry, but we don’t have enough information to be confident.
When she lived in our area she shared her home range with her daughter Moijerre, male Winberry. Female Worinyaloke lived nearby.
When she disappeared she looked thin, and we were concerned about her. We had no idea why she had left, or even if she’d died. To see her again as an older female koala in 2018 is a joy. She is at least 10 years old, possibly 12.
Survived extreme heat/drought catastrophes:
Carninje has survived the following extreme heat waves and droughts.
Millenium Drought 1996 – 2010: Carninje would have been born during this drought, which is a miracle in itself.
2009 Southeastern Australia Heat Wave: 27 January to 7 February (3 consecutive days over 42C, then a record high of 48C on 7/2/09). This heatwave led to the Black Saturday bushfires in other parts of Victoria.
2014: 14 to 17 January (4 days over 40C, the last at max 46C)
2019: 4 January max temp: 46C
2019: 25 January max temp: 46C
How do we have so much information about Carninje?
Echidna Walkabout’s Wild Koala Research Project has been monitoring the koalas of the You Yangs and Brisbane Ranges for 20 years. In 1998 we discovered a non-intrusive method of identifying koalas by their natural nose patterns. Since then we have been collecting data during tours, and using it to advocate for koalas, plant trees where they are most needed, and remove weeds to improve koala habitat.
All our tourists play an important part in this research, by making it possible through funding this social enterprise, and by looking out for koalas on our tours.