Koalas in captivity, or koalas in zoos, can play a big role in the protection of koalas in the wild and koala habitat. Zoos are not only about educating people about the koala’s situation and creating awareness about koalas and their habitats, but are also about being centres for research.
Local zoos like Dreamworld’s Koala Breeding Centre has the potential to become a centre of excellence for reproductive biology for koalas, forming partnerships involving developers, community, research institutions and other like minded organisations to further strategic and innovative thinking. You can read about such a collaboration with Griffith University’s Environmental Futures Centre here.
Zoos around the world do buy koalas. The money that is made when local zoos sell koalas to overseas zoos goes back into koala research and koala habitat conservation here in Australia. In other words, koalas in captivity are helping the koalas in the wild.
It is interesting to note that over the last few decades the monetary value of koalas has come down considerably – koalas in captivity were worth a million dollars each in the 90s, whereas now they sell for only tens of thousands of dollars. Does this mean that koalas are worth less than they used to be? Surely, given there are fewer koalas now, koalas should be worth more.