Conserving Koala Country

Conserving Koala Country

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

What's in a name?

Some say that it is not good scientific practice to name your study animals. Obviously I disagree. I think a name is easier to remember than a number and allows us all to engage more with the research. Besides, Jane Goodall named her chimpanzees so why can’t I name my koalas?
Since 2010, about 50 Cape Otway koalas have been named. I have generally allowed those helping me catch to choose a name but ‘try’ to claim the power of veto. I say ‘try’ because sometimes a name is slipped in without me getting a chance to veto, or I am simply out-voted. Here's just a few that had reasons behind their names...

Princess – captured by an Earthwatch team on the day of the royal wedding. I thought ‘Kate’ would be fitting but I was ignored. 'Princess' lived up to her name though. Such a drama queen in a catch!

Lucie – named for my lovely French volunteer. She had the same sweet personality (See the photo at the top of the blog).

Dave – you just have to love a koala called ‘Dave’. Dave is definitely my favourite.

Kevin – the eleventh koala ever collared... "Kevin Eleven"

Bruce – big, grumbly and slow-moving. Bruuuuuuuccce.....


Tony Parker – a French basketballer. Apparently this koala moved just like him? Named by a French volunteer.

Erik – after the Viking (Erik the Red) who was shipwrecked at Cape Otway.

Mac – moved as fast as a Mac truck.

Frankie – named for Frank from Bimbi Park. We messed up on matching personalities here though. Koala 'Frank' was plain nasty and earnt him the nickname 'Cranky Frankie'.

Beast – quite scary and ‘beast’-like and named by a visiting researcher. We estimate him to be about 12 y.o. so he's my oldest boy.

Scarface – pretty obvious really. In 2010 I came across him. He had a terribly infected face wound (not sure what caused it) and I didn't think he'd live. A year later, I saw him with a healed but scarred face so decided to collar him. He still lives on.... a resilient fellow.

Emily, Charly, Georgie, and Benjamin were joeys named for my three nieces and nephew. Some of the few named by me and obviously the cutest joeys ever.

And from our latest trip, we have Diamond named as a thank you to Mitsubishi, Fran named for San Francisco zoo, and Sarah and Tigger both named by Earthwatchers for their own personal reasons. Next week I will be heading back to the Cape to add another 16 koalas to the list. Any suggestions for names?

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