koala


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koala

(kōä`lə), arboreal marsupialmarsupial
, member of the order Marsupialia, or pouched mammals. With the exception of the New World opossums and an obscure S American family (Caenolestidae), marsupials are now found only in Australia, Tasmania, New Guinea, and a few adjacent islands.
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, or pouched mammal, Phascolarctos cinereus, native to Australia. Although it is sometimes called koala bear, or Australian bear, and is somewhat bearlike in appearance, it is not related to true bears. Once abundant, it is now found in much-reduced numbers in Queensland, Victoria, and New South Wales.

The koala has thick, grayish fur, a tailless body 2 to 2 1-2 ft (60–75 cm) long, a protuberant, curved, black nose, and large, furry ears. The five sharply clawed toes on each foot enable it to grasp and climb. A slow-moving, nocturnal animal, the koala has perhaps the most specialized diet of any living mammal; it feeds on leaves and shoots of a particular stage of maturation from particular species of eucalyptus. In addition to the vocal folds in the larynx, the koala has a pair of larger, thicker velar vocal folds (part of the soft palate) that are used to produce very low-pitched mating calls.

The single cub is about 3-4 in (1.9 cm) long at birth and is nursed in the mother's pouch, from which it emerges for the first time when about six months old. Until it is about eight months old it continues to ride in the pouch, and until about a year of age it is carried on its mother's back or in her arms.

The harmless and defenseless koala has been ruthlessly hunted, chiefly for fur but also for food; disease and the clearing of the eucalyptus forests have also taken a heavy toll. Protective measures have been adopted to prevent its extinction, but loss of habitat and disease have led to continuing population losses, especially in Queensland, and the koala is considered vulnerable in parts of its range.

The koala is classified in the phylum ChordataChordata
, phylum of animals having a notochord, or dorsal stiffening rod, as the chief internal skeletal support at some stage of their development. Most chordates are vertebrates (animals with backbones), but the phylum also includes some small marine invertebrate animals.
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, subphylum Vertebrata, class Mammalia, order Marsupialia, family Phalangeridae.

koala

[kō′äl·ə]
(vertebrate zoology)
Phascolarctos cinereus. An arboreal marsupial mammal of the family Phalangeridae having large hairy ears, gray fir, and two clawed toes opposing three others on each limb.

koala

, koala bear
a slow-moving Australian arboreal marsupial, Phascolarctus cinereus, having dense greyish fur and feeding on eucalyptus leaves and bark
References in periodicals archive ?
With dozens of koalas facing similar problems, locals were asked to sew cotton mittens for the bears to wear while their wounds healed.
This led the study's biologists to conclude that koalas have adapted their behavior to survive the warmer weather, spending more time hugging acacia and less time chowing down on eucalyptus during the summer's hotter months.
Later, the koala was taken to Wildlife Hospital in Australia's zoo on the Sunshine Coast where he was issued a diagnosis of chlamydia apart from which he received a clean bill of health.
While organizations like WIRES are doing what they can to help koala populations survive, ultimately it is the Australian Government that must lead an appropriate and timely response," says Mr McKee.
Tabart said the Victorian government has not allowed the koala to be protected federally because the timber and logging industry "wields a great deal of power" in the state.
Australian Greens Senator Bob Brown said the national environment law has failed to protect koala populations for the past 15 years, and he will be introducing a bill for extra koala protection into the Senate in June.
Environment Minister Tony Burke said the most at-risk koalas needed to be on the national list of threatened species, and populations in New South Wales, Queensland and the Australian Capital Territory would be listed as vulnerable.
Scientists in Australia are pushing to have koalas listed as an endangered species.
The cookies - Koala Chocolate Cookies 49g, Koala Strawberry Cookies 49g, Koala Yummie Cookies Chestnut 49g, and Koala Melon Cookies 49g - are thought to contain melamine.
People want koalas to exist, they don't want them to be on the endangered list.
This crow certainly took exception when a cheeky koala staked a claim to its gum tree in the Aussie outback.
Frankie is the world's first koala known to have blue eyes.