The diverse plants of Sydney Olympic Park cater to hundreds of animal residents and visitors every year. Recently the variety of eucalyptus tree species available in the parklands provided temporary relief to koalas at Taronga Zoo after eucalypt plantations, from which their food is sourced, were significantly impacted by floods in March.
Koalas feed almost exclusively on eucalyptus leaves. Over 700 different eucalypt species exist in Australia, however, only approximately 50 species serve the specific or preferred diet of koalas. Individual koalas need about 1kg of leaves each day, and they generally favour new growth or fresh tips. Taronga Zoo spends time fine-tuning leaf requirements for individual koalas when caring for them. Often, this requires sourcing fresh leaves from eucalypt species closer to their home range to ensure each koala is getting the best care possible.
Sydney Olympic Park staff recently helped Taronga Zoo access eucalyptus leaves at the Park to temporarily supplement the diet of koalas at Taronga Zoo, including Eucalyptus microcorys (Tallowwood) and E. robusta (Swamp Mahogany), as well as thin-leaved E. scoparia.
Koalas are classified as a threatened species, listed as vulnerable to extinction under environmental law at the national level, and under state/territory legislation in the Australian Capital Territory, Queensland, and New South Wales. This iconic Australian species faces a variety of threats, including habitat loss, drought, bushfire, vehicle collision, disease, and climate change to name a few. Taronga Zoo has been involved in several emergency response operations after devastating bushfires and droughts by providing emergency shelter, medical care, and rehabilitation for displaced and injured wildlife.
Sydney Olympic Park is proud to support Taronga Zoo in their efforts to protect wildlife for future generations to come.