We are Losing our Wild Koalas Rapidly……
It is the end of autumn and the start of winter, one of the hottest on record; the bush is extremely dry, no rain, and the food source is very poor, so one can assume that the weaker diseased animals are succumbing to the final stages of their disease. This is when they are noticed on the ground, or low in a tree for several days before being reported to us.
This has been one of the worst months ever. With nine koala rescues in the area, of the five road victims only one survived. One, a healthy mother with a pouch joey were both killed on impact with a vehicle. The other four rescued koalas had to be euthanaised by a specialist vet due to severe Chlamydia disease . Here are just two stories of the diseased animals found within one small farming area.
A concerned member of the public found the koala above in her yard, and had the insight to feel ‘she was not right’ as she had been in the same tree, a wattle over a week. She was monitored overnight and was not seen to move from the same branch, or to come down and move to a suitable eucalyptus tree to eat (wattle is not a tree koalas feed from.) When she was taken to the vet it was found she was in very poor body condition. Under anaesthetic it was discovered she had “one of the largest ovarian cysts ever seen.” Furthermore, she had advanced stages of renal failure and was actually slowly dying. Unfortunately the kindest thing to do was to euthanaise her. This goes to show how easily koalas can mask their symptoms. Although she may look fine to the inexperienced eye, their thick fur disguises the underlying poor condition of the body. This koala had not eaten in days, was very weak and was slowly dying.
Another sad story
A young male koala was seen to be not moving from the one tree for over a week. When binoculars zoomed in, he was assessed as having a severe Chlamydia Cystitis (the pictures we have are too gruesome to put on line) you can just see between the branches the darkening of the rump. Although he looks bright enough in the face, again the thick fur disguises the poor body condition under this thick coat. He was found to have a body score of 2/10; his disease was also so advanced he had renal failure and had to be euthanaised by a specialist koala vet. Although this may seem extreme, this was the kindest thing for him, because he was getting weaker and weaker. When sick animals no longer have the strength to cling to branches , they are found at the base of the tree, starving and slowly dying. To leave him until he reached this stage would have been a welfare issue and very cruel.
Because of the location – near a main highway, together with the height of the tree, he was not able to be reached by normal methods. We were lucky enough in the end to get the help of a cherry picker to reach him.
So as you can see, the joy and pleasure we get in working with these amazing animals is sadly tempered by the heartbreaking reality of trying to save a species on the brink of catestrophic loss. While we would rather share only the warm ‘fluffy’ stories with all of you, Dear Readers, they are a minority of our day to day work.
Critical Care Centre fencing completed
On the home front, stage one of the fencing has been completed and there is now around 1.5 acres of tree safe from the wallabies and hares.
Can you help? – essential support needed in covering costs of fuel
An urgent request!!! Our wonderful sponsors for vehicle and fuel of the past two years have sold their business and as such, we urgently seek a new sponsor to cover this vital cost. Please contact us if you can help.