Australian Wildlife Adventures amidst COVID-19

By Jen McWhorter, PhD Candidate, University of Exeter and University of Queensland (QUEX Institute)

Nature provides a silver lining from the noisy COVID-19 news here in Australia. In comparison to the UK, we have had many freedoms including the ability to travel for exercise up to 50km’s from our homes. As of Friday, the 15th of May, we will be allowed to travel up to 150km’s. Making lemonade from lemons, I decided to venture more into local parks in search of Australian wildlife that I may have overlooked in the surrounding area. After given a credible lead, I began with a 4:30 am wake-up to look for a platypus in a local stream. I had no luck but, it was still an exciting morning. Shortly after this mission, I was informed of koalas in a nearby forest. Success at last! I spotted three koalas in a small forest reserve just a few miles from the busy city of Brisbane. The weather is changing here, a numbing 10 degrees C in the mornings has Aussies wearing down jackets, beanies, and Ugg boots. With the change in weather, echidna’s, commonly known as ‘spiny anteaters’, are about moving locations. Perhaps these little critters will be my next reason for forest bathing?

Photo: Jen McWhorter
Caption: White Hill Reserve offers local walking trails with frequent koalas spottings.