Australian nursery owner reveals prolific plant thief

Humphrey Herington, a nursery owner in Australia, racked his brain for weeks to find the thief who was eating his seedlings. At first, he thought it was goats who escaped their shelter. However, he discovered later that it was not a fast animal but a lazy koala.

One day, Herington walked into work and encountered a cheeky possum, dubbed Claude, dizzy and too sated to move, surrounded by stripped eucalypt plants.

"He looked like he was full. He looked very pleased with himself," he told the BBC. "We came out to work one morning, and he was sitting on a pole. There were lots of plants missing that morning. I guess the koala must have had a big feed and was too tired to return to his tree."
According to the staff at the Eastern Forest Nursery near Lismore in New South Wales, the plants Claude was snacking on cost them $3,800 (A$6,000).

They are now building a koala-proof fence around the seedling tables to prevent the marsupial from eating more plants. In 2022, Australia listed koalas as an endangered species along most of the East Coast as their numbers declined drastically due to land clearing, bushfires, drought, diseases, and other reasons. The irony is that the nursery was growing the plants Claude ate to boost koala habitats in the region.


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