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Return Rescued Koalas to the Wild

Item # 50916

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Give sick, injured, and orphaned koalas a second chance at survival.

Koala numbers along Australia's eastern seaboard are in decline, resulting from habitat destruction, disease, vehicle collision, dog attacks, and the impact of climate change. Thanks to the efforts of volunteers and concerned citizens, many koalas have been rescued, but many more still need help.

Despite advances in research, increasing numbers of koalas are afflicted by disease. Left untreated, illness can result in blindness or even death due to infection and complications. With appropriate medication and care, however, sick koalas can make a full recovery prior to release into their native habitats.

Koalas are notoriously picky eaters, often preferring their local "gum" trees to unfamiliar varieties. Because every koala is different, they require special care, including uncommon medicines. Organizations such as the Friends of the Koala help fill this gap, providing experienced handlers, specialized rehabilitation centers, and unique medical care these exceptional animals require.

Friends of the Koala's volunteers bring into care over 300 koalas annually, ensuring expert veterinary treatment and supervised rehabilitation. Around 65 animals are returned to the wild each year.

You can help. $21 per day provides daily medication for a rescued koala. With your gift, koalas will receive the handling and treatment necessary for a complete recovery.

Friends of the Koala works to conserve koalas, particularly in the Northern Rivers region of New South Wales, recognizing the contribution that the species makes to one of Australia's most biologically diverse regions. Friends of the Koala provides a number of services for injured and orphaned koalas, including care, education, and research.

Story from the Field

Paw Paw, an adult male koala, was brought into care in November 2005 after being found low in a tree with a septic wound on his left wrist. His wound led to his name Paw Paw (Poor Paw).

It became apparent that the extent of the damage to his wrist would require specialised care as the infection had gone right down into the tendon so he was transported to the Australia Wildlife Hospital at Beerwah. At AWH he underwent a delicate operation on his wrist and was placed on a long course of antibiotics to combat further infection.

...each day he climbed higher and one evening I was thrilled to observe him leaning heavily sideways and grabbing leaf with his right arm. Meaning? ... his entire body weight was being anchored by his left arm gripping firmly onto a branch. It was then apparent that the release day had finally arrived. On January 19th with a touch of sadness that comes from having a koala in long term care, I opened the gate of his enclosure and offered Paw Paw his path to freedom. Hundreds of hours of dedicated care by many volunteers had led to this moment.

The sadness was soon replaced by pride as over the next few days Paw Paw was sighted swaying in the breeze in the nearby trees chomping greedily on leaf and affording us the occasional glance.

Jennifer Creed, Friends of the Koala

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