Koalas not yours to keep

This little joey wasseparated fromhis mother. Itwasthree days before hereceivedspecialist care. Friends of the Koala isreminding people that while their intentions may be admirable, it is vital to hand over injured wildlife immediately to give them the best chance of survival.

Friends of the Koala (FOK) are imploring people to immediately hand over injuredkoalas following several incidents recently where members of the public have been reluctant to hand over the animals theyve rescued.

FOK president Lorraine Vass says while its always distressing to see a native animal in need of care, and it can be tempting to keep these cute and iconic animals as a pet, doing so can put the koala in real danger.

The delay in contact often leads to an animal suffering pain unnecessarily and invariably has a detrimental impact on its recovery, said Lorraine. Also, there can be issues of hygiene and potential disease transference.

Care co-ordinator Barb Dobner said the most disturbing incident was a recent case involving a joey who was separated from its mother.

At its age joeys are still feeding from their mothers as well as eating leaf. This little fellow missed out on a mothers milk substitute for three days, said Barb. Koala joeys require specialised formulas and are very tricky to feed. For these reasons it is better to hand on the animal as soon as possible to a trained koala wildlife rehabilitator.

Of course, anyone who wants to become a trained wildlife carer and help rehabilitate koalas first-hand, is always welcome to join FOK as a volunteer.

For information on training courses or to report an injured koala, phone the Koala Rescue Hotline on 6622 1233. For more information on the group, visit www.friendsofthekoala.org.


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