An elderly rescue koala who had his eyes removed after a nasty fall has been filmed sniffing out food, as the brave marsupial adjusts to life with a disability.
Clarence the koala fell from a tall tree, which left him with eyes that were so badly damaged he couldn’t even produce tears.
Despite six months in home care, Clarence, who now lives at Port Stephens Koalas, a non-profit rehabilitation centre and sanctuary north of Sydney, it became clear he was severely sight impaired.
Clarence, whose full name is Glen William Clarence after a woman called Clare who rescued him, had his eyes removed to reduce the stress associated with having eye ointments applied multiple times a day.
Clarence the koala (pictured above) is a popular stalwart at Port Stephens Koalas, a non-profit rehabilitation centre and sanctuary, north of Sydney
Footage filmed by the sanctuary showed Clarence using his heightened sense of smell to find eucalyptus leaves to munch on.
He is said to use his ‘brilliant sense of smell to sniff out the good stuff,’ the koala sanctuary wrote on Facebook.
Clarence (pictured) had his eyes removed following a fall – and now uses his sense of smell to source food
Koalas in Australia are currently considered just a step above from being endangered.
Habitat destruction, domestic dog attacks, bushfires and road accidents have all contributed to a declining population.
An inquiry in 2020 revealed koalas will be extinct in NSW by 2050 unless there is urgent action taken.
Establishing new national parks in identified areas and reducing land clearing are key factors which will aid their long term survival.
‘Koalas are an iconic Australian animal recognised the world over and a national treasure which we will do everything we can to protect for future generations,’ NSW Environment Minster Matt Kean said last year.
KOALA’S ARE ‘NOT BEARS’
*Despite being colloquially known as such, koalas are not bears
*They are actually marsupials, which means that their young are born immature and they develop further in the safety of a pouch
*’Koala bear’ is still a common term due to their bear-like appearance
*Chlamydia, a sexually transmitted disease commonly associated with humans, has hit wild koalas hard, with some wild populations seeing a 100 percent infection rate in recent years
Source: Australian Koala Foundation / National Geographic
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