Gluttony is a bad mistake, as the saying goes. Claude Cola is not the opposite. For weeks, the marsupial has been stealing young plants from the Eastern Forest Nursery near Lismore in northern New South Wales, Australia.
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A very greedy koala
The nursery team first noticed the plants being chewed a few months ago. Humphrey Herrington, the owner of the place, first thought of runaway goats or an opossum.
“There’s really no signs — no traces or anything — to indicate what it could have been. It’s a mystery,” He told the BBC.
So nurserymen tried different methods to identify the little thief: setting opossum traps or examining feces. without success.
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One morning, the criminal revealed himself… because of his gluttony. “We went to work one morning and there he was sitting on a pillar: a cheeky koala, unconscious, too stuffed to move, surrounded by bare eucalyptus plants. He looked full. He was so happy to see him. He didn’t see one. Lots of plants that morning. ..I think he must have had a big meal that day and was too tired to go back to his tree.”
Humphrey Herrington gently wrapped Claude in a towel and placed him in a tree about 300 yards from the nursery. “But after a few days he returned and continued his nightly journey!”, he told the BBC. Before proceeding: “These animals aren’t really known for their agility or intelligence, so I can’t believe the culprit is a koala. I’m shocked, but… a little impressed.”.
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Is lack of food to blame?
Impressed, but also worried. “I’ve been here about 20 years and this has never happened before. Is there a food shortage?”asks the Australian.
Claude can no longer help himself in the nursery. Workers are at work erecting fences to protect the plants. After the marsupial crushed several thousand plants, it would have caused more than €3,500 in damage. Ironically, these were bred in an attempt to improve the koalas’ habitat in the region.
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Once healthy, the island continent’s endemic species are now at risk of extinction in the coming decades. The cause is, in particular, drought, fire, land clearing and diseases such as chlamydia.
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