British expat's wild claim about Australia: 'It's a scam'

Ella Wilson said Australia's native wildlife is one of the country's biggest drawcards, but she has reason to believe one iconic species 'doesn't exist'

British woman Ella Wilson at Tewantin National Park looking for koalas.
British woman Ella Wilson, who's living in Australia, claims koalas don't exist because she's never seen one. Source: TikTok

A British woman living in Australia has expressed her disappointment with her six-month stay so far, admitting she's yet to see the one thing she moved Down Under to see — despite going out of her way. She's so annoyed to have not yet seen one of Australia's most recognised icons, she's even warned others not to visit, labelling the country as "a scam".

Ella Wilson said she's been desperate to see a native koala in the wild, admitting it's one of Australia's main drawcards. Based in Noosa, the UK native said she's followed signs and visited areas known for thriving koala habitats — despite this, she's yet to see one.

"I’ve seen one at Brisbane zoo but not in the wild yet," Wilson told Yahoo News Australia. "I was at a national park in Noosa and asked the information lady if I’d see any there. She said to go to Tewantin as there have been 300 spotted."

So Wilson made the 17-kilometre journey to Tewantin National Park which "is a well-known koala habitat," the Queensland Government's website states. She said there's ample signage and information warning visitors to 'beware of the koalas'.

However, an hour in and nursing an "aching neck" from looking high in the trees, Wilson shared her dissatisfaction after failing to see a single one. Sharing her thoughts in a video on TikTok, she said: "Australia is a scam. Do not come.

"I was told in this location that I'm in right now that there's over 300 koalas that live here. I've been walking for over an hour, looking at every single tree. My neck is aching. There's nothing," she said in the video.

"I just don't believe they live here [in Australia]. Where are they at? Absolutely nowhere," she continued. "I've been in Australia for nearly six months now. I've not seen a single one.

"All the 'beware of the koala' signs can absolutely do one. Have you ever seen a koala crossing the road? Anyone? No. No, you haven't. It's a scam and they don't exist."

While it's true the koala population in Australia is dwindling due to loss of habitat, with fears of mass extinction in some states, it's estimated there are currently up to 57,000 left in the wild across eastern Australia.

Those numbers are recorded by the Australian Koala Foundation, however, the government's estimation is much higher — over 400,000 — with known habitats in the southeast and eastern parts of the country, along the coastlines of Queensland, New South Wales, South Australia, and Victoria. The native animal is now considered endangered in Queensland, NSW and the ACT.

Two koalas hugging in tree in Noosa.
Koala numbers in Australia are dwindling due to natural habitats being wiped out. Source: Noose Koala rescue

Wilson told Yahoo she's "so sad" and hopes to eventually see at least one. However, responding to her complaint, one social media user admitted "I've lived in Australia since 1995 and yet to see a koala in the wild".

"I've lived in Oz for 40 years, never seen a Koala in the wild, and I do a lot of bushwalking," another shared.

One person suggested she visit Port Macquarie, a town in NSW that's home to over 2,000 koalas. But even there, major development has forced the native animals away from their home.

Many environmental groups continue in their efforts to save the dwindling population and have stressed that habitat clearing needs to stop if the species has any chance of surviving.

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