Arthur finds coal instead of sex

Determination will get you far, as a koala looking for some lovin’ discovered in the Hunter Valley.

Arthur the koala was rescued from one of the state’s largest open cut coal mines in Muswellbrook on Wednesday night.

Experts say koalas looking for a mating partner can walk up to two kilometres at night.

"This time of year they’re walking around looking for girls," Hunter Wildlife Rescue president and koala co-ordinator Audrey Koosmen told the Newcastle Herald.

"They’ll move a couple of kilometres a night, no trouble at all.
“These boys just want sex all the time."

But Arthur must have been too distracted with his own thoughts, as he wandered into the Mount Arthur coal mine in his quest for a good time.

He was rescued by mine workers who phoned Muswellbrook-based Wildlife Aid volunteer Bruce Mulligan.

"I was very surprised because I didn’t know there were any koalas up there," he said.

"It was a fair distance away from any trees."

Arthur spent Wednesday night at the Muswellbrook home of a Hunter Wildlife Rescue koala carer and was taken to Medowie yesterday for examination by a vetinarian.

He is now at the animal rescue group’s Medowie rehabilitation centre and will most likely be placed in a rehabilitated area near where he was found.

The discovery of the koala in the mine has raised concern about the damage being done to local habitat, after an environmental assessment submitted to the Department of Planning last year for an expansion of the mine found no evidence of koalas at the mine site, despite the fact it is a habitable for koalas.

Muswellbrook mayor Martin Rush said the mine was preparing a rehabilitation strategy for the department.

"As part of that process it is timely that the issues relating to koala habitat are reconsidered, and if there has been a lack of rigour in previous environmental assessments, then it is appropriate, in the light of this event, to revisit them," he said.

BHP Billiton, which owns the Mount Arthur mine, said it was the first koala found at the mine and independent monitoring would continue.

Image: Arthur with his carer, Judy Valler. Image by Phil Hearne.

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