News – June 2016

We are a bit late with our news from June but please find following the stories of two koalas that came into our care, highlighting the ups and downs of caring for the koalas of the Darling Downs.

A Successful Rescue Story in the News

We featured in The Toowoomba Toowoomba’s Chronicle newspaper on 27 June in an article reporting on a recent successful koala rescue and release, our input was the rescue of the koala whose treatment and care was undertaken by Endeavour Veterinary Ecology team.

Billie during treatment

Billie during treatment at Endeavour Veterinary Ecology

Here is a link to the article and following is a copy of the text by Toowoomba Chronicle:

‘’A partially blind koala found next to the Toowoomba Second Range Crossing corridor has been nursed back to health and released.

He was spotted by Transport and Main Roads staff in a Queensland blue gum near the disused pilot tunnel originally intended for the Toowoomba Second Range Crossing.

The koala was given then name Pilot Billie and he has become something of a mascot for the Toowoomba Main Roads team.

Veterinarian Jon Hanger said Billie was nearly blinded by infections in both eyes and suffered from an infection of the bladder.

Dr Hanger worked with Cabarlah wildlife carer Clare Gover and Endeavour Veterinary Ecology staff to nurse Billie back to a healthy weight and restore his eyesight.

Ms Gover said Billie’s condition was so bad he would have only been able to find food by smell and feeling his way around.

Billie jumped for joy when the team released him today.

TMR regional director Kym Murphy said Endeavour Veterinary Ecology would work with
contractor Nexus and the Toowoomba Second Range Crossing team to spot, tag and release
koalas as part of a program funded by Transport and Main Roads.

“Ecologists use cutting edge technology including thermal imaging scopes to ǡnd koalas in
thick vegetation,” she said.

“We will closely monitor the local koala populations during works at Toowoomba Second
Range Crossing.

“If sick or injured koalas are found it’s good to know people can call on groups such as Return
to the Wild, who do a great job caring for these iconic animals in our area.”’’

A Sad Story and a Call for Help

Story and photos by Nicki Laws

Ashley and Katie from Darling Downs Vets and ‘Ben’ the male koala.

Ashley and Katie from Darling Downs Vets and ‘Ben’ the male koala.

A large male koala was picked up injured at the side of a country road, between Southbrook and Biddeston on the Darling Downs, by a passing Veterinarian . He took it into the Oakey Clinic of Darling Downs Vets, the practice where he works as an Associate Veterinarian.

Pain relief and antibiotics were given by vet Ashley and vet nurse Katie before x-rays were taken of the injured koalas’ skull. A serious jaw fracture was noticed, and Return to the Wild was contacted for help.

X-ray of the mandible fracture

X-ray of the mandible fracture

We did the 80 km round trip to collect ‘Ben’, as he had been named, then he was transported 120km to the Brisbane RSPCA clinic at Wacol where further x-rays and a complete clinical examination were performed. By this stage Ben had deteriorated neurologically and the fractures were considered too serious and unlikely to be successfully repaired. The worsening status of the koala also suggested brain trauma. A decision was made to euthanize the beautiful animal on humane grounds.

This is a sad story, but an outcome that is unfortunately too common in South East Queensland, where koala habitat is under continued fragmentation pressure from development and where the threats from road traffic accidents, dog attacks and diseases are real.

The story also highlights the wonderful unpaid work that is performed to help these animals – by local vets like those at the Darling Downs Vets for koala rescue groups like Return to the Wild.

Please support wildlife carers and the RSPCA by giving donations to help their work. Ask councils to put up road signs in koala habitat areas. Plant suitable trees if you have land in koala territory. Talk to politicians in the lead up to the Federal Election and ask what their party will do to halt tree clearing, lift the status of koalas under the EPBC Act, and to set aside more land for this iconic species.

Australia cannot afford to lose more koalas.

Return to the Wild inc. has a PayPal link for any donations to help their continued rescue and rehabilitate koalas and other wildlife with their valuable work.