Australia, Community, Environment

Koala Rescue

Moving out of the inner city has its advantages.

We live in a designated Koala area as the new house is located within a known corridor and adjacent to a protected Koala habitat. Yesterday, we spotted a Koala on our way home from essential shopping at the Hardware store.

koala

This is not our first Koala sighting in our area. Several months ago, a male Koala was spotted resting in the lower branches of the same tree. See my post on Koala spotting here.

The dirty stain on the bottom indicates chlamydia

The Gumtree in which the furry marsupial was sitting, has a flourish of succulent new growth towards the crown, due, no doubt, to the recent rainfall. This has attracted another Koala occupant and this time it was a female with a Joey, (a baby Koala), in her pouch.

According to a neighbour living directly opposite, the koala had been in this tree for a week or so, I contacted the Koala Rescue to report the sighting.

The Rescue group has a number of volunteers who attend Koala sightings to perform a visual health check, as almost all Koalas in our State, are known to have a number of health issues, primarily Chlamydia infection. This is a particularly painful infection that can lead to Koala infertility, blindness and death. Along with Chlamydia, habitat loss has led to a significant decline in Koala populations to a point where they remain vulnerable.

Surveys have shown that some wild populations demonstrate a 100 percent rate of [Chlamydia] infection, which frequently leads to blindness, severe bladder inflammation, infertility and death. And treatment with antibiotics could create further problems for the marsupials, upsetting their gut microbes and making it difficult for them to digest the eucalyptus leaves that are a staple of their diet, researchers recently discovered.

http://www.livescience.com/62517-how-koalas-get-chlamydia.html

The Moreton Bay Koala Rescue is an organization staffed by knowledgable volunteers who drop everything and run to aid a Koala. Marilyn and her able assistant used a set of binoculars to assess the Koala’s health from the ground, as the animal was too high to conduct a full-on assessment and rescue. In the video, they tapped the base of the tree with a stick, in order to assess her ease of movement and to get a better view of her as Koalas generally sleep during the day.

She may well be the Koala, known to rescuers as Barty, as she had a tag in her right ear, meaning that she is a female, (as women are always right!) and she did have a Joey in the pouch.

The Rescuers told us the Koala Mum has likely been carrying her Joey in the pouch, for around 6 months. In a few weeks time, this Joey will move out of the pouch and travel about on the Mum’s back for several months, until it is old enough and clever enough to live independently. If the Mum has chlamydia, she will, unfortunately, pass it on to the little Joey.

Koalas Killed on Roads in Breeding Season

Breeding season is when Koalas are on the move, crossing roads and hunting for a mate. This usually starts in July; perhaps it will start earlier this year, as daily temperatures have been higher than expected.

The Rescue stated that in the first 8 weeks of the breeding season in 2019, they received and cared for 22 injured Koalas, mostly as a result of being hit by cars. It is heartening that their numbers are still high in our region, but tragic that so many are still accidentally killed by motor vehicles when crossing the road.

Koalas are harmless creatures, they basically just want to eat their gum leaves, find a mate and sleep away most of the day. If you only ate one food, you might also sleep 18 hours in every 24 too! They are not endowed with speed and often travel at night when they are difficult to spot on the road.

Slow down if you drive through a known Koala Habitat.

Kangaroo Island Koalas

South Australia’s Kangaroo Island had the only population of Koalas in the country without Chlamydia infection. Sadly, it is believed up to 30,000 perished in the recent bushfires. 90 % of their food trees on the Island were burnt, so any surviving Koalas actually died from starvation, unless they were rescued. One resident claimed that you couldn’t walk ten metres in any part of the forest, without coming across a dead Koala carcass.

Koalas rescued from South Australian Bushfires

Why do we need to Protect Koala Habitat?

As incredible as it may seem, the Government still seems reluctant to protect Koala habitat. Koalas are specialised feeders; they are only able to eat four species of Eucalypt leaves and are thus, highly vulnerable to extinction. Ensuring that remaining Koala habitat is protected is a critical factor for their survival.

The Koala is an iconic symbol of Australia that brings millions of tourists and their dollars to our shores, yet it receives little recognition in the way of publicly funded support in return. After the recent bush fires, a new strategy to protect some realms of known Koala habitat in my own state, has even been criticised for not going far enough to cover many known Koala corridors.

koala
Koala on Stradbroke Island

It is absolutely essential to protect any remaining Koala habitat. We have been blessed with a responsiblity for this beautiful creature and it desperately needs our help to survive.

In order to maintain viable populations, the Koalas must be free to roam within their range and interbreed to remain healthy. Protecting Koala populations with Koala fences may actually prevent males from finding a mate to breed with.

Report Koala Sightings

It is imperative, therefore, that all sighting of Koalas are reported and documented, so that their movements can be tracked and the data collected and shared with Government bodies. This will assist in protecctive planning decisions that aim to preserve the Koala and its habitat for future generations to enjoy.

May 3 is Wild Koala day for the Moreton Bay Koala Rescue – a major fundraising event had to be cancelled, due to Covid 19. They are a not for profit organization dependent on donations and community support.

May the Rescue continue their great work. Thanks to every one of them.

70 thoughts on “Koala Rescue”

  1. What a lovely blog … You are so fortunate Amanda, koalas are rare as hens teeth here. When I moved here in 2012 we had one a week, last year we had less than 5. Enjoy while you can. Stay safe 😊 Ha det! Julie Jansen
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    Liked by 2 people

    1. That is a sad indictment on management practices in your area, Julie. Urban structures such ad Railways can be as effective as a thirty-foot-high barrier to some animals who will not cross them. A University with an active Environmental Science department, would I hope lay down some kind of framework to ensure wildlife were not disturbed. You definitely should report your sightings, or lack thereof, to your local Koala group. If in doubt, contact Moreton Bay Rescue group and ask them who to talk to. Thanks for your comment. Ha det bra og vær forsiktig, Julie

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    1. We have a living time capsule in evolution here, with our marsupial fauna, Lisa. I don’t think we have properly valued the real worth of these animals nor fully appreciated the responsibility we have as custodians.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I am in love with Koalas, of course. They’re cute with just the right amount of lazy, imo. I do like knowing there are protection groups aimed at helping them survive and that you live in such an interesting place. We have squirrels in the trees around here. Just not the same at all.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. They may not be the same as Koalas, Ally, nor as rare or special. But squirrels are cute as, and fill an important ecological niche in the ecosystem that constitutes your local environment. I was mesmerized by squirrels when I first went to Europe- I saw the first one in Germany and was so surprised at their size. I ‘d imagined them to be so much bigger and fatter from seeing them on cartoons and in picture books, as a child! About the size of a small Koala! Funny that!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you for sharing all the information. I had no idea they battle that disease, and it breaks my heart that an antibiotic could make it worse. 😓 Don’t they know why this disease is so prevalent in koalas? Will the Joey make it into adulthood?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The disease is so prevalent because the numbers of Koalas is low and getting lower all the time. The stress on the animals and habitat loss means that they are confined to smaller and smaller areas. Thus, if one animal has the disease it will be passed on to others as it is sexually transmitted. If you can’t breed with other koalas, you will never get non-infected animals breeding with other non-infected animals, and thus the animals pass on the infection to all others. The Joey might survive and breed, but it may also die or be infertile. Only nature knows. It is a good sign that she has a baby but then it also depends on when she fell pregnant as Chlymadia affects fertility levels. Thanks for your concern. Spreading awareness of this issue is important as there is little recognition of the role destruction of habitat plays in this situation. Some think – oh you can just allow the Koalas this area of land and they will survive. But it is not as easy or as simple as that. It would be like making a small town only marry and have children with people in that small town. Eventually, illnesses would crop up in the children through close relationships, or weakened immunity from a lack of new genetic material and variation. We need new people and genes, to be healthy in the longer term, just like Koalas do. Thanks for your comment.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. It was heart breaking to read about all the dead koalas during the fires. But also heartening to read about the rescue teams that are doing their best. I only hope we are able to protect their habitat and prevent another species from extinction – something that seems to get tougher each passing year.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Namz for your comment. I have the same hope as you that by some miracle we can prevent the extinction of this beautiful animal. They are so very special and it is likely that we cannot protect every species. The Koala brings in tourist dollars to Australia and is the only species in its class so it is important for biological diversity, economics and well as the cuteness factor. Have you ever seen one irl?

      Liked by 1 person

  5. That was really interesting and informative and I find it hard to believe that the Australian government isn’t doing more to help these helpless creatures. Thank goodness for all the volunteers and rescue centres.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It is surprising Sheree. I guess that Koalas don’t have a spokesperson to advocate for them, so the rescue organization do that, but this Government’s mentality is that we can’t afford it and it is “Greenies,” who are stopping development. Australia’s economy rests solely on mining and construction industries. Not much else. If a developer wants to build a housing estate in a bushland area, that is seen as more productive, in that it supports jobs and provides stimulus to the economy, without regard for animals and their dwindling food sources and homes. The Government sat by and watched Australia burn – all the forested areas were let burn as it was just forest. The Rural Fire Service, mainly unpaid volunteers, fought those fires, with equipment that had partly been publicly funded, I assume. The funding they had received had been cut back drastically prior to the fires, as much as the opposition argued it, the incumbent Government dismissed it and now we have the consequences. Almost everyone overseas who visits Australia for the first time, wants to see a Koala – and perhaps in our children’s lifetime, they will no longer be able to do that. It is tragic. I will be getting involved in the rescue organization when I retire from work. They need help from someone.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Very informative. Koalas epitomize cute. I’m surprised there isn’t a stronger preservation effort. Australia has such a unique ecosystem and wildlife I’d have thought there was a ministry or division dedicated to its preservation? I hope the grassroots organization is successful. Thanks for building up its awareness!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There is a Department looking after the Environment, but of course, it isn’t a priority with a right-wing liberal Government who sees the economy and whether they can deliver a surplus as key to gaining voter’s attention. Aided by the media, any other topic bar the economy, gets very little media attention. Corona, for one positive thing, has changed that. Now they are forced to forego their obsession with a surplus as the economy grinds to a complete halt. In tough times, there will be very little money spent on Koalas though. They drew money away from the Barrier Reef Preservation Fund to help pay a stimulus package to keep jobs. Sometimes you have to do this, but the time to care for the environment never goes away. As I said to Sherree in a previous comment, the Koala and Wildlife Conservation receive very little support or interest. It is flawed short-term thinking. I will become further involved in the Koala rescue when I retire – they need someone to help!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. cathynative77@gmail.com Pastor Cathy Native

    On Tue, Apr 28, 2020 at 4:33 AM Something to Ponder About wrote:

    > Forestwood posted: ” Moving out of the inner city has its advantages. We > live in a designated Koala area as the new house is located within a known > corridor and adjacent to a protected Koala habitat. Yesterday, we spotted a > Koala on our way home from essential shopping a” >

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Some animals here must be feeling a reprieve as well. The fact that there is less traffic on the highways might help the Koalas in the breeding season. Let us hope so. I loved see all the videos of animals taking back the city streets, the goats in Wales, the Puma in South America, Stray cats in Eastern Europe and Asia and Dolphins in Venice. Fantastic. And encouraging that nature will reclaim what it can, given the chance. I hope the chances are afforded to our wildlife too.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Interesting stuff about koalas and good to hear that there are organizations out there doing something for them. Frankly, I think the idea of any government taking the lead on something like this is the exception rather than the rule these days. I did see about the awful toll on Kangaroo Island, but nature does have a way of bouncing back – if it’s given the chance. Let’s hope it does so again.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I do hope the population of Koalas on Kangaroo Island bounces back, as we do need them if the species is to survive. That fact should have been recognized and acted upon. Unfortunately, the island is not equipped to deal with fire, and the vegetation may benefit but I think this will weaken the Koala cohort. Time will tell on that. You are right about the level of interest by Government. I am often thinking that when I studied the Environment in the 80’s that everyone would be much more educated in caring about wildlife and conservation of natural areas by 2020, so much so that we would not need to do much more to educate the public. But is clear that hasn’t happened. Economic priorities will always be foremost in Government’s minds. Do you have active conservation groups in Hawaii?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, there’s a whole raft of organizations seeking to preserve everything from coastal access to individual species of fish, birds, and other wildlife, but an unbelievable number of native species have already disappeared.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Great that there is affirmative action, but it is sad to hear that it is too late to save some animals, unless they are hiding away somewhere and might come back from the brink of extinction. Are there areas inaccessible from the public where this might occur, Graham?

          Liked by 1 person

      2. Didn’t have a reply option on your comment below so doing it here. There are plenty of inaccessible areas, and always the possibility of something turning up again, but most of those species deemed extinct are just that.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. That is a shame that they have been confirmed as extinct. For many years, people held out hope that the Tasmanian Tiger would still be alive somewhere in remote Tasmania. No such luck. The last one died in a zoo in the 1930’s. Very sad.
          I wonder if the inability to respond has anythign to do with a limit to the number of nested comments. I have seen this problem on other blogs too and not thought too much about it. I do find your comment this way though, so at least we can still get around it. The reason I reduced nested comments, if in fact that has anything to do with it at all, is because they would get narrower and narrower on the screen to the point where only one or two words would show before the carriage line return. You could not read them. This would only happen if it was the one person commenting multiple times and responding multiple times. I am not sure if that is the same issue you are experiencing, Graham?

          Liked by 1 person

      3. The comment seems to end up in the right place by continuing to reply to your original response, so I guess that works. I know what you mean about replies getting narrower and narrower.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Thanks for the update on those sweet and wonderful creatures, Amanda. I’ve never seen a real one and that is my loss. I’m not sure we as a species will ever wake up to the fact that we can’t take away everything from other living creatures for our own benefit. My heart breaks every time I hear about how much the koala’s are hurting and not being protected. Our government is even worse so there you have it. It will always be up to the average citizen to do what is right. Sending hugs your way. Stay well. BTW, I couldn’t see the Koala in the tree. I’m lucky if I could see it in real life in a tree. ;( Not your fault, I’m just too nearsighted.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The photo were not great, as I had to zoom in and the focus is a bit dodgy when you are trying to hold a mobile camera steady. The tree is very tall! So I can’t blame you if you didn’t see it. Did you see the enlarged version with her leg cocked up in front on the tree? That is what she looked like close up. I am sad to hear that your Government places less emphasis on wildlife protection than ours. It is near-sighted as it brings in so much income. What other industry costs next to nothing to produce income such as Koalas?

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Nature and the universe will sort it, Marlene. That was your valuable advice that you gave to me, some time back. That won’t stop us trying to increase awareness in the meantime though!

          Liked by 1 person

  10. Talking to those who were around in the 1960s, Bribie Island teamed with Koalas in the trees along the foreshore. I have never seen one and neither have I heard of people reporting sightings on the island.

    This report by Alice Klein in New Scientist gives some hope for the iconic animals:

    To address these problems, Peter Timms at the University of the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, Australia, and his colleagues have been developing a single-injection chlamydia vaccine that provides long-lasting protection. Koalas are injected with tiny fragments of C. pecorum bacteria to train their immune systems to fight chlamydia.

    The team tested the vaccine on 21 free-ranging koalas in Queensland’s Moreton Bay region. Six had early-stage chlamydia and the other 15 were chlamydia-free.

    After six months none of the chlamydia-free koalas had become infected, even though half the koalas in their habitat were carrying the disease. In addition, all six of the individuals that started out with chlamydia had cleared the infection.

    Read more: https://www.newscientist.com/article/2128507-chlamydia-vaccine-for-koalas-slows-spread-of-deadly-disease/#ixzz6KweZkn8C

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So sad that Bribie has no Koalas left. I guess the development got right of the last groups. And the foreshore is too full of visitors to have them. Again development disrupts colonies.
      Thanks so much for sharing the findings from the New Scientist. I am heartened by that work. It wasn’t antibiotics then?

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    1. You weren’t aware that Koalas were threatened, Anne? Then I am very glad to have educated you a little in terms of this cute, cuddly creature. Have you ever seen one, in a zoo, perhaps?

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        1. I am glad that I could provide you with an update, Anne. I walked down to check out the Koala again this morning, but it has vanished. I hope it has gone back to the wetland and not become injured somewhere else.

          Liked by 1 person

  11. We don’t have koalas in WA, so we were fascinated when we saw them in the wild in the eastern states. Their future survival is definitely a worry. Kangaroo Island sad on so many accounts.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I always forget that the Koala never crossed the deserts in their evolution. Again, this is a disadvantage as they might have had a disease free population group in W.A. Then again, you need particular gum trees that may not grow too well in WA. You have the gorgeous little Quokkas instead and fantastic wildflowers. I feel gutted when I think of Kangaroo Island. It was such a haven for wildlife of all types. I didn’t hear how the fire started. I do hope it wasn’t arson.

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  12. Hi Amanda, I cannot imagine spotting a koala in the trees. For us it is deer. We see them almost daily. Interesting, yet sad about the health issues for the koalas. Also fascinating about Kangaroo Island. As always, we can learn a great deal from animals and from nature. Thank you for a very interesting post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You may not have koalas, but any wildlife, except perhaps, snakes and toads would be welcome. Deer are sweet creatures although not common here. I was quite fascinated with deer roaming the streets of a Stockholm suburb, when I was in Sweden. They were however, very skittish. Frightened of people. Is the deer you see similar in their behavior?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I don’t think the deer are skittish here. They become very still and just stare at us. They are sweet creatures and very common in many parts of the city. We have a mix of rural plus urban throughout our city. For some people the deer are a nuisance in their gardens. Unfortunately, they often become part of accidents on the roads.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Wild animals often become road kill in all parts of the world. Large animals likedeer or for me, a kangaroo, would do serious damage to a car. And kill the animal concerned. The animals area good at adapting but unfortunately they haven’t assimilated to road safety! Koalas are often the victims because they are slow moving.

          Liked by 1 person

  13. Hi, from NSW, lol. I volunteered at the reptile park for a while & the Koalas were the funniest & the cutest. We are also on a Koala path, they are just adorable, the main road kill in our area are the darling little wallaby & roos, though not so may lately which is great.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Good morning up there. (: At first there were less as a prominent character in our area persuaded local council to put a new road in which bypasses our little corner of the world.(long story that one). Hence less traffic & now with the corona, I actually haven’t seen any now I think of it. Which is great. Have a great weekend & stay well.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Good afternoon! I am glad to hear that the bypass has saved some of our wildlife from road deaths. Was the bypass a good thing all around or did business suffer?

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  14. How wonderful to spot these lovelies where you live! We thought it was exciting to have squirrels & orioles visit the trees around our apartment, but koalas!!!!

    We had to call the animal rescue because a peacock was stuck on our neighbour’s roof top …. it took them more than 24 hours to help the poor critter down.

    Thank you for highlighting the need to take care of our wildlife.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Such special creatures aren’t they and so iconic to Australia, it’s important that they’re protected. I was heartbroken to hear of so many that perished on KI during the bushfires. But it was heartwarming to see so many of them along the Great Ocean Road when Cyranny was here. It’s wonderful that you have them so close to your home!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We are lucky to have them close to home, but often the Koalas are injured and need care as they rarely come so close, otherwise. Cyranny was fortunate to have that camping experience with you. And get to cuddle one at the sanctuary.
      Treasured memories. Do you know if the populations down on the GOR are monitered in any way?

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Lucky you to have the the gorgeous creatures in the trees outside, Amanda. I have been following the heartbreaking stories about the bushfires and the consequences for wildlife.
    Thanks for the update and so much ❤ information. x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Dina and it is so lovely to hear from you. I am glad you are still blogging! We are so lucky to have these precious animals here and I am looking forward to getting involved with Rescue when I fully retire.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. It seems that I may follow suit when I retire, which could be sooner than I think. Possibly next year. I love community work and as we live in a koala corridor, it seems a priority to help this organization. How long have you been working in the seal and bird warden area? What kind of duties do you do?

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