Claude The Koala Has Gone On Another Heist. This Time, He Brought A Crew

Claude The Koala Has Gone On Another Heist. This Time, He Brought A Crew

An infamous koala nicknamed “Claude” has conducted a broad-daylight heist on the Eastern Forest Nursery in South Gundurimba, New South Wales, Australia. Last year, workers at the nursery – which grows eucalyptus trees for a koala habitat – noticed that a number of their plants appeared to have been chewed on.

“One morning we came to work and there was an area of eucalyptus that had freshly been munched by something. We noticed there was a koala clinging onto a pole next to the tables where the seedlings had been eaten,” Eastern Forest Nursery manager Hymphrey Herington explained to World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Australia following the latest heist. “Yeah, I would never have believed it was a koala until I’ve seen him actually sitting there on the pole.”

Herington captured images of the koala, which caught the attention of the world’s media.

This year, the eucalyptus plants have been surrounded by extra security – but Claude returned nonetheless.

“We’ve fenced three sides, and we had a fence with a wobbly shade cloth top, the theory being that if he tried to climb up he would fall back outside the fence,” Herington told ABC News

“Then one day the staff actually saw him. He climbed up the shade cloth and was coming down onto the poles and getting into the nursery. That was three o’clock in the afternoon. That was an interesting visit, coming in for an early feed.”

Cameras installed by the WWF showed that Claude was not eating the plants alone.

“Around the nursery you could probably count up to 12 or more koalas in the trees,” Herington told ABC News, adding “some of those pictures show a female with a joey on her back.”

Last year, Claude munched his way through thousands of dollars’ worth of eucalyptus plants. Following media stories, one company donated 6,000 seedlings to the nursery, who in turn donated the seedlings to the WWF.

“With koala Claude and his friends going to the nursery to eat seedlings, it shows how they’re desperate for food trees,” Koalas Forever project Officer Maria Borges told WWF, “and this area that we are right now, the Northern Rivers, especially around Lismore, is heavily cleared, and it’s really missing good quality habitat for them.

“That shows how we need to plant more trees and how we need to stop, urgently, tree-clearing, especially all around the Northern Rivers, that it’s a stronghold for koala populations in New South Wales.”

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