The Hammer family
were enjoying a barbecue on a warm Christmas Day, 2002. They noticed the family
pet stagger from the nearby woods with a grey lump attached to it's neck. AS
they approached, the lump unwound into a pint-sized koala which leapt from the
dog's back and scampered back into the trees in a very unkoala-like manner. They
were amused until they noticed prolific bleeding around the dog's neck. It
wasn't until much later the film from a throw-away camera, given as a gift to
one of the children, was processed. On the film was the first photograph of a
Phascolarctos cinereus sanguinus ever taken.
House is located in the Blue Mountains, west of Sydney, Australia, near Leura.
As soon as the encounter was reported scientists from The Museum raced to the
area and began searching. The NSW State Government expected a rush of people
leaving the area. They were caught off-guard by the reaction they recieved. One
e-mail sent to the NSW Commissioner of Police typifies the response.
"When we were
told there were furry little bloodsuckers in the area we were frightened! We
thought someone was about to build a resort catering for bankers nearby. There
isn't much else that would make us move. "
Scientists spent months trying to find a verifiable trace of a
Phas. cin. sanguinus and had failed. They were convinced the whole thing was a
hoax and had given up the search when an academic contacted The Museum. He had
looking at a picture-book on koalas when he had seen something. A picture of a
possible sanguinus feeding on another koala. The scientific community went into
a frenzy. The search began again, and continues with little result.