A Visit from Mum!
Mums are special. They are the first ladies in our lives, and for some of us, they are forever the best.
Mum taking me for a walk when I was 6 months, one of my first journeys out of the pouch.
Most male koalas leave their mums in summer at around 11 to 13 months of age, but I stayed with mum until I was 20 months. Why? I don’t know for sure, but maybe it was a combination of things: I didn’t want to leave, she didn’t force me to leave, I was born late in the season and she thought I was not ready to go. Normally koalas are born between November and February, and by the following summer they are big enough to handle themselves. I was born in late April, so next summer when the other kids were leaving home, I was just over 7 months old. Though big for my age, I still wasn’t near a 1 year old in size. Besides, I was still suckling. I couldn’t leave!
Whatever the reason, she kept me all through that winter, and I will forever love her for it. When I did leave home the following summer I was nearly 2 years old – bigger, stronger and faster than the other kids. It gave me the kick-start I needed.
Me at 18 months, nearly ready to leave home
I headed north at first, and Donna, Janine and Mary from Echidna Walkabout saw me near the top of the You Yangs mountain. From there I looked down on a wonderland: a flat plain between two mountains filled with River Red Gums (my favourite food), a billabong or two, lots of gorgeous girl koalas and … oh oh, a few big males. Oh well, nothing comes easily!
Better still, this wonderland was close to mum’s. Maybe I could visit occasionally?
The next time I saw researchers Janine, Martin & Mary from Echidna Walkabout I was in a tough spot. The biggest, scariest, meanest male of the wonderland had found me. Golly, I’d only been there a few days and I had been so quiet. How did he know?
His name is Winberry, and he gave me a right scare that day. He let me go with a warning: “stay out of my range, and away from Worinyaloke and her daughters”. I took his advice, found a spot outside of his area and stayed.
October 2013. Doesn’t time fly! I’ve been away from mum for a year and a half. I should visit sometime…
Then early on the morning of 6th October I smell something ever so sweet and familiar. It takes me straight back to the pouch, warmth, and safety. Its the smell of love. It’s the smell of mum.
My first sight of my Mum in a year and a half.
She’s come to visit! There she is – 100 metres away, in a tree that I call my own. To a koala 100 metres, you understand, is close. With our height advantage we can see, smell and hear much further than you can on the ground.
Mum, looking down at the ecotour group. Isn’t she beautiful?
Scott and the group looking up at mum in amazement.
During the morning the Echidna Walkabout ecotour group arrived, and they were pretty surprised to see her. Wildlife Guide Scott said they had never seen a mother koala go to visit a son! Well, all I can say is that she’s not just a normal mum. She’s the best mum in the world.
Me. Sleeping happily knowing Mum is near
We spent the day together. We didn’t need words. We just enjoyed being together. That night she went home. But I felt a whole lot better for her visit.
Mum. She’s the proudest and bravest koala I know.
Note from the researchers:
Though we don’t know what Clancy and Pat are thinking and feeling, all the events in this story are true. We have positive identification of Clancy and Pat on all the occasions mentioned in the story. Clancy’s current adult home range is about 2km east of Pat’s home range. In the 8 years we’ve known her, we have never seen Pat in that region before, and never since. So why did she go there? Can it be coincidence that she was just 100m from her son?
Janine, Echidna Walkabout
*reprinted with permission from Janine at Echidna Walkabout.
Lisa Rossmeissl is the owner of Boomerang Escapes, a home-based agency located in Old Bridge, New Jersey with agents in TN, and WI. She has been a professional travel consultant since 2008 and specializes in Australia and the South Pacific. Australia, Tahiti, Fiji, and Cook Islands are among the specialist certificates she holds. Her agency’s focus is on creating itineraries with their client’s wants, desires, and budgets in mind. She and her planners believe in getting to know the traveler to ensure they have a vacation to remember. With each planner specializing in a different market area, Boomerang Escapes can offer a wide ride of leisure vacation planning.