The koala was officially proclaimed the faunal emblem of Queensland in 1971 after a newspaper poll showed strong public support for this endearing marsupial as the State's animal ambassador.
The poll was instigated by the State Government after a proposal was raised at a meeting of state tourism ministers for all States to adopt a faunal emblem.
The koala (Phascolarctos cinereus) is commonly distributed throughout eastern areas of Queensland south of Townsville, although it has been found as far north as Cooktown and as far west as Cunnamulla.
The species is reputed to be shy; however, colonies of koalas often thrive near built-up areas if there are sufficiently large tracts of bushland to provide a suitable habitat.
The koala is a marsupial - an animal that carries its young in a pouch. The newborn young, less than two centimetres long, crawls through it mother's fur to her pouch where it is harboured and suckled for about six months.
Normally a gentle creature, the koala spends almost all its life in the tops of eucalypt trees, usually dozing during the day, and actively foraging for choice leaves at night.
It rarely drinks water, since it normally gains sufficient moisture from dew and its diet of oily eucalypt leaves.