Origin of name:
Ngardang means mother in the Wathaurong Aboriginal language of the You Yangs/Geelong/Ballarat region.
2014 – she was first seen as a tiny joey with her mum Babarrang. We estimate she was born in January 2014.
How often seen:
She is seen quite regularly – she was seen on 36 days in 2017, 58 days in 2018 and 67 days in 2020 even with reduced research due to COVID.
Her mum is Babarrang, and her father is probably Vincent (one of the stars of the book “Koala Clancy of the You Yangs”) She has four siblings that we know of – a joey born in 2013, Djadja born in 2015, Burun born in 2017 and little Karrborr, born 2019.
Ngardang has five joeys herself – Wurdi (m) born in 2016; Lakorra (f) born in 2017, Bunyip (m) born in 2018, Winjku (f) born in 2019 and Kallama (m) born in 2020. Wurdi and Bunyip were probably sired by Clancy, Lakorra was probably sired by Winberry and both Winjku and Kallama are fathered by Gulkurguli.
Clancy and Gulkurguli live in the north of her range, Winberry and Mabo in the east. Females KiKi, Kozo, her sister Djadja, and her daughter Lakorra are her nearest neighbours. Her mother Babarrang is not far away.
Ngardang is an excellent breeding female and is doing it by the book – she had her first joey when she was 2 years old, her second at 3 years and another every year since. She is a large female, and we’ve noticed that females with large body size are more successful mothers. Perhaps her large size shows that she is very fit and healthy, or she’s grown up in good habitat. Living near her mother could also have given her access to quality habitat. Female koalas with large body size may also have more choice over which male they mate with, and choose the fittest father for their joeys.
Survived extreme heat/drought catastrophes:
Ngardang has survived the following extreme heat waves and droughts.
2014: 14 to 17 January (4 days over 40C, the last at max 46C) Ngardang was born during or just after this disaster – the strain on her mother Babarrang would have been tremendous.
2019: 4 January max temp: 46C – at this time she had just weaned joey Bunyip.
2019: 25 January max temp: 46C
2019: 20 December max temp: 46C (she had joey Kallama in her pouch at the time. Miraculously, both mother and joey survived).
2019: 30 December max temp: 44C
Ngardang and Lakorra showed off their tree climbing abilities in this video for Wild Koala Day, May 3 2017:
and read about it here on the Wild Koala Day website.
You can also watch Ngardang relaxing on a warm summer day here:
How do we know all this about wild female koala Ngardang?
Our Wild Koala Research Project has been monitoring the koalas of the You Yangs and Brisbane Ranges for 21 years, using our non-intrusive method of nose pattern identification.