THE present dry spell is taking its toll on koalas around the region.
Lack of rain and drying winds have desiccated leaf and thinned canopies and thirsty koalas are looking for water.
Friends of the Koala Care Co-ordinator, Pat Barnidge, advises people who live with koalas to take a few simple precautions which will help thirsty animals get through long dry-spells.
"Leaving bowls of water at the base of trees known to be used by koalas is a good start," she said.
"Dusk to dawn is acknowledged as their prime active time but koalas move around during the day as well. If they are thirsty their keen sense of smell will lead them to garden ponds and even swimming pools.
"Standard pool fencing isn't always an effective deterrent for koalas, while they can swim, getting out of a smooth-sided pool unaided is usually beyond them because their claws have no purchase.
"Providing a rope or some other means of escape could prevent unforeseen calamity."
Meanwhile, Friends of the Koala is gearing up for a busy summer.
"On the ground koala conservation isn't getting any easier," said president, Lorraine Vass.
"Our admittances over the past four years have been just over the 300-mark annually and with the hot summer predicted, we fear that number will increase.
"While there are many encouraging advances in koala conservation including preparation by several Northern Rivers councils of comprehensive koala plans of management, the development of an anti-chlamydia vaccine and the Federal government's koala listing, it's really down to each of us to think carefully about what we can do to help the koalas we are so fortunate to live amongst."
To report a koala in trouble, or a sighting, phone Friends of the Koala's 24/7 Rescue Hotline: (02) 6622 1233.
This number can be used for information about koalas, their food trees, and other ways in which the koala conservation effort on the Northern Rivers can be assisted.
Also visit: www.friendsofthekoala.org or email firstname.lastname@example.org