Makeshift koala hospital scrambles to save dozens injured in bushfires
By:Relaxnews
Date:
Koala1

Dozens of injured koalas arrive at the Kangaroo Island Wildlife Park’s makeshift animal hospital each day in cat carriers, washing baskets or clinging to wildlife carers.

Injured in bushfires that have ravaged the wildlife haven off the coast of South Australia state, there are so many marsupials currently requiring urgent treatment that carers don’t have time to give them names — they are simply referred to by a number.

Among them is Koala Number 64, who was brought in with burns to all four of his paws.

Stretched out on a surgical table in a bustling tent, he has been sedated so the wounds can be examined and treated.

“It’s healing nicely,” says veterinarian Peter Hutchison, explaining the koala had already benefitted from a few days’ of treatment.

An injured koala is treated for burns by a vet at the Kangaroo Island Wildlife Park. – AFP

Not all rescued koalas have been so lucky. Many are found so badly injured that they need to be euthanised.

Steven Selwood, South Australia Veterinary Emergency Management team leader at the hospital, says around 46,000 koalas were thought to be on the island before this year’s bushfires.

It is estimated as few as 9,000 remain, Selwood says, describing the figure as “pretty devastating”.

“The fires here were particularly ferocious and fast-moving so we’re seeing a lot less injured wildlife than in other fires,” he tells AFP.

An orphaned baby koala clings to the shoulder of a vet at a makeshift field hospital at the Kangaroo Island Wildlife Park.

“A lot of the wildlife was incinerated.”

Australian Environment Minister Sussan Ley said the country’s koala population had taken an “extraordinary hit” as a result of bushfires that have raged for months, suggesting they could be listed as “endangered” for the first time.

Kangaroo Island is the only place in Australia where the population is entirely free of chlamydia — a sexually transmitted infection also found in humans that is fatal to koalas.

That has made them a key “insurance population” for the future of the species — and even more crucial now that large numbers have died in bushfires on the Australian mainland.

Almost half of Kangaroo Island has been razed by fire and an estimated 80 percent of koala habitat wiped out.

This widespread destruction has left rescuers with a tricky proposition — what to do with the animals once they have recovered.

For now, that issue is on the back burner as teams of vets work overtime to save as many as possible.

“He’s going to need another week (to recover) and will need to be kept caged after that,” Hutchinson tells AFP as he wraps a pink bandage around Number 64’s paw.

“Because there’s no habitat for him to go back to at this time.” – Relaxnews

New Sarawak Tribune e-Paper

Related Post

Regular blood donors see it as a calling
12 mins ago
Craving for nasi minyak? It’s now available everyday
1 day ago
Legalise sales but prioritise safety aspect
1 day ago
Medan Saberkas traders give thumbs-up to piped gas
1 day ago
Physiotherapy better than pain meds
1 day ago
Jimi could have deserved better …
1 day ago
On a mission to beautify women
2 days ago
Painting of Chinese zodiac rabbit awaits highest bid
3 days ago

Promoted Content

Latest News

Reduced allowance will be a challenge for MPs, says Nanta
2 mins ago
Regular blood donors see it as a calling
12 mins ago
Prayers, pomp and splendour at Siniawan celebration
40 mins ago
Kampung Mujat gets allocation to cultivate paddy
3 hours ago
RM300k allotted for Rh Suring new site project
4 hours ago

Quicklinks

Subscribe and get the latest news from NewSarawakTribune.com.my

New Sarawak Tribune is a Sarawakian news portal that highlights Sarawak-centric news and other stories of relevance to Sarawak.

Today, New Sarawak Tribune focuses on happenings in Sarawak’s cities, towns and small places no matter how remote these are and events of relevance in other states of Malaysia and other countries.