Furry friends and neighbours

A lucky local has an old fella koala that comes to visit each week or so.  He’s known as Mr K. Pooh. 

Mr Pooh

I am always amazed by the wildlife that lives in the Manning Valley. There is a huge amount of birds, kangaroos, wallabies and other marsupial friends that we share this beautiful part of the world with. It is important to remember that we do share this valley with such creatures, and I believe it is our responsibility to ensure that they have a safe and sustainable environment to live in, which includes a food source.

Of particular note, especially in the Mondrook area, is the koala population. This is evident by the number of road signs, on the road, that indicate that there are koalas crossing the road and, from my personal experience having lived in Tinonee for many years, and now having moved to Mondrook, I am particularly impressed by  the koala population. We must all give thought to their safety and protection. The local “house party central” is a worry with drunk (or worse) drivers careering around at night, when  the koalas are on the move.

Koala in Care

I don’t know whether we appreciate the efforts and assistance that ‘Koala in Care’ gives to our local koala population.

This was particularly bought home to me when in discussions with Paul McLoud from “Koala in Care”, that they have particular concerns in relation to being able to feed and obtain the appropriate eucalyptus leaves, while they are nursing injured koalas. Cars are their main danger, and dogs are their main predator. This is a sad situation, as both motor vehicles and dogs are within our control.

The koala’s vulnerability was particularly brought home to me as, having moved to Mondrook, we have been regularly visited by an old bull koala, whom we have named Mr K Pooh. We always know that it will be a hot day when Mr K Pooh (named because of the amount of ablutions that he does) visits our home and takes advantage of the coolness of the tiles on our veranda. Initially we were a bit surprised that he visited, however, over time, we have got used to his visits, especially on hot days.


A few weeks ago, I was particularly concerned about Mr K Pooh, when I noticed a rather large bush tick on his back. On closer examination I discovered more ticks.

That particular day I removed sixteen full-blooded bush ticks. It was with slight trepidation that I remove the ticks from the more private, sensitive parts of his anatomy. However, since then, and with this introduction to Mr K Pooh, he has been quite happy for me to check for ticks, and scratch behind his ears and on the top of his head, which he does seem to enjoy.

At night he will wander off. If it’s likely to be a hot day, he will be back. Fortunately, on recent inspections, there have not been as many ticks. I do not know, but I secretly hope, that he has appreciated my courage in removing the ticks. It made me wonder just what part of the universe cycle do ticks play. I’m sure we have all had unfortunate experiences with ticks. I have been told that some bird species seem to find them a delicacy.

Visitors don’t disturb the old boy. He sits beneath the table with his own drink, and seems to lend an ear to the chatter, giving a sage nod now and again.

Our young Belgian Shepherd dog, Lottie, drops toys in front of Mr K Pooh hoping for a game, but obviously the old boy’s toss isn’t what it used to be, as he ignores offers to play.

I hope that Mr K Pooh will continue to visit us, and it will be a sad day when he does not return. I’m only hoping that he can live out his life chewing on eucalyptus leaves, which do not appear to be very appetising, but the ‘Koala in Care’ folks keep planting more in the neighbourhood for all Mr K Pooh’s progeny.

Sededentary Life

On occasions, when I have introduced Mr K Pooh to visitors at our home, they are quite amazed and, initially, do not believe that it is a real koala. It seems that he sleeps 99% of the time, in order to digest those unappetising leaves, and carries out his ablutions without any thought as to the mess that he has made. However this is a small price to pay for a close encounter with a furry friend.

I guess that, as the heat of the summer cools, Mr K Pooh will retreat into the forest where he resides, I assume.

The moral of this story is that we should be aware of our environment and the creatures that we share it with. We are the ones in control, and we are the ones who should take responsibility for conserving their habitat. On a selfish note, these wonderful creatures can provide us with very special experiences. I believe they all have a right, just as we do, to live in this great valley. However, we must all acknowledge and respect each other, and how we go about our daily activities and lives. Don’t speed, watch the dogs (serious offenders) and pause to enjoy the magical sight of a dozy koala in a tree near you!

James Paton.

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