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Byron Shire
November 28, 2021

Arni gets his own territory on the north coast

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Arni was bred in captivity as part of a breeding program at Taronga Zoo but has been moved to a new home at Macadamia Castle. Photo supplied.

The Macadamia Castle was thrilled to welcome Tiarni (or Arni for short) a two-and-a-half  year old male koala into their care recently.

Arni was breed in captivity as part of a breeding program at Taronga Zoo but has been moved out of Taronga as he was coming into full maturity as a breeding male.

Owner of the Macadamia Castle Tony Gilding said, ‘Koala conservation is close to our heart here at the Macadamia Castle we are deeply concerned about the loss of koala numbers in our area.’

No handling

Arni’s enclosure was opened to the public on Friday after he had had a chance to settle in but there won’t be any photos with Arni on your shoulder.

‘Visitors can go into the enclosure and have a photo taken near Arni,’ said a spokesperson for Macadamia Castle.

‘But the public aren’t able to handle the animals.’

Likes his own space

Koalas are solitary animals and are very territorial and as it became clear Arni wasn’t the dominant male, living in a group of males was no longer appropriate or safe for Arni. If he remained he would suffer ongoing stress and it was in his best interests to have his own space as soon the dominant koala would push Arni out.  

Dominant males enforce their dominance through the depth of their bellow, their size, behaviour, attitude and determination.

Arni will now mature more quickly than he would have at Taronga as he doesn’t have to present to other males and is now happily marking his territory using his sternal scent gland. Koalas do this as a warning to other males not to intrude on their territory. Bellowing also is a deterrent to other males as they do prefer not to challenge and won’t engage if they can avoid it. 

Tiarni doesn’t feel lonely without his group, he will be feeling safe and secure in his new territory. Males do not parent their young and take part in a five to ten minute courtship.

Tiarni is an indigenous word for ‘gorgeous one’ and was named by Gretel Packer who donated funds to the construction of the Taronga Institute of Science and Learning and was offered naming rights. Arni is the only koala at the Macadamia Castle and won’t be part of a breeding program.

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