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Reading Koalas try suburban jungle


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monitor lizards so far this year reptile rescue expert
early last century in 1997 eucalyptus leaves
arms sliced off destroying trees more vegetation

In search of the perfect suburban lifestyle as well as plenty of , koalas are deserting woodlands for backyards, bathrooms and cars in Adelaide.

Local conservationists have rescued 105 koalas from the suburban jungle compared with just 20 sightings of the bear-like marsupial in the city six years ago.

Cleland Wildlife Park's operations manager, Gary Fitzpatrick, said Australia's furry grey icon, a protected species and a rare sight in the wild, had flourished in the Adelaide Hills area since its introduction .

"With high numbers of koalas, competition for territory is increasing and male koalas are moving towards urban areas," he told the Adelaide Advertiser. "There is also much in the metropolitan area now, which is attracting them."

But life in the suburbs is not all snoozing on garden gum trees. Instead of contending with bushfires, dingoes, pythons and the suburban koala must keep a beady eye out for dogs, roads and railways.

"There was one koala found on the South Eastern freeway - they just seem to skip across there without any fear," Mr Fitzpatrick said. But he also reported another case of a koala discovered dead on a railway line with its .

The cleaning of native woodland has removed more than 80% of the koala's natural habitat, but in some areas where they were introduced to help preserve the species they have swiftly reached plague proportions, with their voracious appetite for eucalyptus leaves.

Hundred of koalas were airlifted off Kangaroo island in southern Australia to save rare trees, birds and wildlife in the national park.

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