Wildlife rescuers have been able to locate an injured koala joey who fled after his mother was mauled to death on a property in southeast Queensland.
- A lactating koala was fatally mauled by a dog in Imbil, Mary Valley
- More koalas are likely to move over the next six months for the breeding season
- Terri Irwin welcomed additional funding from the state government to protect the species
Wildcare Australia was called in to rescue the koala in Imbil in the Mary Valley near Gympie on Sunday.
“Little Jacklyn appeared to have no visible injuries. [but] upon inspection and treatment at Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital, they found she had blood in her abdomen,” volunteer Scott Wilson said.
He praised the landowner for contacting authorities quickly after finding Joey’s deceased mother, allowing rescuers to liaise with zoo staff.
“They [zoo staff] confirmed that the female koala had… a dependent young and was able to tell us the size of joey to look for,” he said.
“So we went back to the property, searched for about an hour and found this young koala.”
Caution during the breeding season
Mr Wilson urged locals to look out for the koalas as they traveled in search of a mate during the breeding season, which traditionally started in July.
He said marsupials are more likely to come into contact with roads, cars, people and dogs.
“It’s in no way a demonization of dogs or dog owners,” Wilson said.
“What we’re asking though is that people pay extra attention at this time of year as koalas move around trying to contain their dogs on their property as much as possible.”
Mr Wilson said koalas were more likely to move at dusk and dawn.
“The more education we do in the community, the more people we have actively paying attention to them and looking for them or noticing them…that would increase the likelihood that we would get more calls and people would see more koalas there- down.”
Increase in funding
The state government has announced an additional $3 million over the next two years for wildlife hospitals at the RSPCA, Currumbin Sanctuary and Australia Zoo.
This amount is in addition to the $1.5 million given annually to the SEQ Wildlife Hospital Network.
Environment Minister Meaghan Scanlon said the aim of the South East Queensland koala conservation strategy was to first prevent the animals from ending up in hospital.
Ms Scanlon said the focus would be on treating chlamydia in the species and creating protected areas.
“We need to make sure that we protect the habitat of all these native species and having a record investment to be able to buy even more land allows us to protect really, really important iconic animals like the koala,” she said.
Terri Irwin, director of Wildlife Warriors and owner of the Australian Zoo, welcomed the announcement and said a change in management strategy for koalas was needed.
Ms Irwin said an increasing number of animals have ended up in hospital, while koala populations have dwindled.
“Increased habitat will give us options instead of sending injured koalas back to areas that could be developed with golf courses, schools and housing to give them a chance to live more in the wild.” , Ms. Irwin said.
Ms Irwin said the wildlife hospital had treated more than 10,000 koalas with chlamydia – the biggest threat to the species.
“Being able to have a vaccine for all of these animals going back into the wild would be a great step in the right direction,” she said.
“We are in the final stages of development and testing and we also need the vaccine to have a long shelf life.”