This article belongs to Australia - Land of the Free? column.

I heard a noise outside my house. When I investigated there were quite a few neighbours watching a koala climbing a tree. Birds had been dive-bombing the little guy who was frightened and seeking protection.


Close-up to the koala
By this time my camera was ready and I started taking photos. The koala climbed down finding bushes at the base of the tree. At this point I was able to get very close and took the shot looking into the animal's eyes.


Being a city dweller my encounter with a bush animal had quite an effect on me. There was a connection and although the koala's expression showed fear mixed with curiosity I'm sure the animal knew I meant it no harm. In fact, I was filled with compassion for the little guy and only wanted to help.


There is something special about wild creatures and I would go so far as to say spiritual. By that I mean a communication on a level that is deeper than normal discussion. It's as if the little guy was saying we are all a part of this planet so we are in it together. Okay as writer I have an active imagination and that's what my sub-conscious thought was the communication. But it doesn't alter the fact I had a deep connection with the koala. It was something that had me thinking for days.

Koala climbing


I think it's much different to seeing a creature in a zoo. I can't seem to get past the fact the animals are locked up. All I can see in their eyes is get me out of here.


The koala is a small bear-like, tree dwelling, and herbivorous marsupial. Don't be mislead, bear-like does not mean a koala is a bear they are not. They average about 9kg in weight with thick fur and usually ash grey in colour.


It gets it's name from an ancient Aboriginal word meaning 'no drink' because they receive over 90% of hydration from eucalyptus leaves (gum leaves). Koalas live in societies, just like humans, so need contact with others of their species.

Koala running away


Koalas are unusual animals, fascinating to see and understand. A good website to see for those of you that are interested is www.thekoala.com where I found some of the above information.


It would be great if the little guy visited again. Let's hope this is not the last time I encounter this very welcome visitor.