Many dead koalas are found in the pastures of cows, covered with hoof prints. Are they accidents or are they being chased by cows? Now a wirelessly controlled koala will give an answer to the question.
The population of koalas is declining in Australia, not least because of the country’s numerous bushfires – and once the succulent animals leave their trees, they are extremely vulnerable. The threats come from traffic and dogs, among other things, but many specimens have also been found dead in cow pastures where there are hoof marks in the fur that speak of the culprit. They are reports Technique.
The question now is whether this is an unconscious act, where the herd does not see koalas, or whether the cows intentionally search for animals and trample them to death? To answer the mystery, University of Queensland researcher Alex Jiang placed a naturally stuffed animal on top of a radio-controlled car and soaked it in a mixture of real colourine and animal feces.
The ability of cows to attack small animals that get close to the herd is a known fact and a defense mechanism on the part of cows.
Jiang led the crew through the herds of cows and also tested the animals’ reaction on the clean platform without fraudulent koalas, imitating a dog as a substitute.
This study is still in an early stage, but what we observed is that cows behave differently when they encounter a radio controlled car with a koala on top and a clean car respectively. This may indicate that our determination is heading in the right direction and that the koala model has a certain effect on the behavior of cattle. This is the first attempt at an experiment like this and it will give us solid clues about how cattle interact with koalas in the field, says Alex Jiang in the movie clip.
It is believed that livestock keepers can make the life of koalas easier by ensuring that trees whose leaves make up animal food grow in the pastures of cows. In this way, the trees will be a protection for the koalas.