Koalas in the News

koala climbing satellite dish

Photo: Doug McArthur http://www.smh.com.au/digital-life/ham-radio-far-from-over-or-out-20110706-1h135.html

koala dropping in...

Koala to turn into the Drop Bear July 9, 2011

YOUR corporate logo should symbolise what your business is about. It should be an instantly recognisable emotional representation of the heart and soul of your organisation, and for the Queensland Reds, their logo is the Koala.

A cute, cuddly, sleepy bundle of fur that is loved around the world but also acknowledged as an endangered species.There have been times when I wished the Queensland Rugby Union would embrace a different symbol but most of the good ones have been used by a variety of sporting teams, crocodiles, redbacks, taipans, stingrays and sharks.

As an identity, at least the koala represents an Australian sporting team better than a tiger, lion or panther. However it isn’t the sort of character that instils fear into an opposition team.

Better or worse? Verdict on the Gillard government’s carbon tax July 10 2011

The Greens secured improvements to the carbon tax, including the introduction a floor price on carbon of $15 per tonne following the shift to emissions trading in 2015, the establishment of a $10 billion renewable energy fund, the creation of a new renewable energy agency and a $946 million bio-diversity fund to help protect native species like the koala.

koala joey being carefully held within human hands

Baby boom for Dreamworld koalas July 11, 2001

SEVEN baby koalas have taken a wide-eyed first look at their new home at Dreamworld.

Five tiny females and two males have already emerged from their mother’s pouch and another four are expected over the next three weeks. The dramatic increase in the number of joeys born this year has stumped Dreamworld staff who are overjoyed at the chance to raise the iconic cuties.

“Having more females than males is excellent for our breeding program,” Dreamworld life sciences general manager, Al Mucci, said. Staff will name the joeys after the currencies of countries who feature Australia’s iconic animal in their zoos.

Koalas euthanased after found living in faeces July 12, 2011

Three koalas have been euthanased and another six rescued after being found living in appalling conditions at a wildlife shelter in western Victoria. Nine koalas were seized from the shelter when Department of Sustainability and Environment officers found them living without food and in squalid conditions.

Three of the koalas had been hit by cars but the shelter’s operators had not taken them to a vet. DSE South West Biodiversity Manager Grant Hull said by the time DSE inspectors got veterinary care for the injured koalas they had to be euthanased.

Mr Hull said the koalas appeared to have been without food for some days and some were found sitting in their own faeces and at least one was malnourished. Four of the koalas have been released into the wild and two more are being cared for by another shelter. The rogue shelter, which the DSE would not name, has had its wildlife shelter permit suspended.

Residents asked to help save iconic animals July 12, 2011

RESIDENTS are being urged to keep an eye out for koalas and kangaroos in North Lakes and Mango Hill as breeding season and development pose a risk to the animals in coming weeks. A koala survey in 2010 showed the koala population in the Moreton Bay Region fell to 1500 from 4600 in 2004.The Moreton Bay Koala Rescue group runs a 24-hour hotline and has volunteers throughout the region. It’s a not-for-profit organisation that relies on donations. President Megan Aitken said ongoing developments in North Lakes and Mango Hill meant it was vital that members of the community did what they could to help our native animals.

Last year the group received 750 calls for help, relocated 49 koalas, admitted 262 koalas to the Australian Wildlife Hospital and drove 50,642km. The group’s figures for the year show 70 koalas were hit by cars and 29 attacked by dogs.

koala protest

Protesters: Bermagui entrance under threat July 12,2011

A New South Wales far south coast anti-logging group says a picturesque avenue of trees on the outskirts of a tourist town is under threat. Yesterday, protesters dressed in black and lined Wallaga Lake Road near Bermagui to draw attention to timber harvesting near a claimed koala habitat.

A spokeswoman for the Friends of the Five Forests, Suzanne Foulkes, says Forest New South Wales has breached logging conditions and caused silting in Black Lagoon. She says it is only a matter of time before the Bermagui town entrance is destroyed.

“We are very disappointed,” Ms Foulkes said.

“We have lost confidence almost totally in the processes that Forest New South Wales is supposed to have with the community and their own code of practice.

“We do not want this to happen to the cathedral trees but we do believe it will.”

Forest News South Wales declined to be interviewed about the allegations but said the protesters should report the alleged breaches to authorities.

Fires blamed for dwindling koala numbers July 13, 2011

There are fears the Tweed coast’s koala population has dropped below 150. The local council’s bush future’s project officer, John Turnbull, says severe bushfires have killed many of the marsupials in recent years. He says most now live in three colonies around the Pottsville area.

Mr Turnbull says the numbers are now so low they may not be sustainable.

“Possibly not a number that’s great enough to ensure their continued survival,” he said.

“These koalas are separated into three communities or populations along the coast.

“They occur increasingly in quite a fragmented landscape.

“Traditionally the big killers of koalas have been dog attack and car strikes but we’ve found the reason in recent years that the population has crashed along the coast has been through uncontrolled wildfire.

“We had a couple of bad wildfires on the coast in 2004 and 2009 and they have severely depleted the population.”

Heartbreak as fire kills koalas in care July 13, 2011

WHEN you devote your whole life and savings to the care of injured animals, any death or injury on your watch is the worst thing that can happen. Fire that razed part of the Jirrahlinga Koala and Wildlife Sanctuary at Barwon Heads in the early hours of yesterday morning was the cruellest blow of all.

Founder Tehree Gordon has come to expect furry fire victims during summer. But the 3am phone call yesterday from her partner, Hamish, who risked his life to save koalas in the couple’s care, cut deeply. “We don’t really know what happened. We don’t understand how it happened, but we’ll just have to rally and get back on our feet somehow,” said the tearful 2004 Senior Australian of the Year.

It is thought a fault in a heat pad used to keep one of the couple’s animals warm in the middle of winter may have sparked the blaze. But as investigations continue, the death toll has been confirmed – two baby koalas and four adults, rescued and in rehabilitation after road trauma or illness, are no more.

“Hamish did all he could but was beaten back by the intensity of the heat as he tried to enter the hospital,” Ms Gordon said.

“He went to the shelter immediately outside and koalas just leapt into his arms and he carried them to safety.”

Ms Gordon rescued her first bushfire koalas 52 years ago. She has worked tirelessly since then to establish her famed sanctuary. “We’ll start again, we have no choice. The animals need us,” she said. After major renovations and a fanfare re-opening this year, the sanctuary would need help to recover from this devastating setback, Ms Gordon said.

1230 ABC New England North West News July 13, 2011

Gunnedah Shire Council will consider setting up a new advisory group to oversee the a koala plan management for the area.

Watch out for males on the move July 13, 2011

FROM June to December young male koalas leave the safety and familiarity of their mother’s territory and head off into the unknown.We still don’t know what drives them. Perhaps their mothers are nudging them away so that they don’t use up the food supply or perhaps they react to the smells left by the adult males as they rub their chest scent glands on tree trunks.

Or it might be the bellowing of the males or their physical presence. Or it may be some sort of inner drive that leads them into the unknown.

Two young koala males set off on their travels last Saturday and both came to grief. The first fell into a swimming pool in Greenway Street, Ruse, and drowned despite ledges in the pool that should have allowed him to escape.

The other was hit by a car on Ben Lomond Road, Minto Heights, at a place known locally as “The Dipper” because of the dip in the road and the speed at which some motorists drive.

The young koala was still alive after the collision and several motorists stopped to assist, creating a traffic hazard on the dark road.

We recorded another kill within the same area last October, so we ask that drivers take care.

Both of these koalas, and the one killed by dogs that we reported last month, weighed about 6.5 kilograms. This means that they have been out of the pouch for about two years and so have had the benefit of extra time with their mothers. Other young koalas will leave their mothers at the end of their first year when they weigh only four kilograms.

In a huge study near Brisbane, researchers followed the lives of 35 young male koalas.

Of the 23 that dispersed, 11 left at the end of the first year and 12 a year later. The late leavers had a better survival rate than early leavers.

A further five stayed with their mothers, three died and one left then returned.

Forty females were followed and 10 left early, four moved at the end of their second year, four at the end of the third and three at the end of the fourth. Nine died and two left then returned. Results for Campbelltown koalas have a similar pattern.

Please report all sightings on the UWS koala pager, 02 9962 9996.

Latest version of story here.

Will Barry do what Bob only promised? July 13, 2011

The cliff edge at O’Hares Creek Gorge, behind Wedderburn, is one of the highest points in Campbelltown.The gap is almost a kilometre across and the wind often hits you like it does at one of the Blue Mountains lookouts.

Yet I suspect 95 per cent of Campbelltonians have never heard of it, let alone seen it.

You can only get there by passing through locked gates and hidden trails. And the same goes for most the other gems in Dharawal, from Minerva Pool to the gorgeous Cobbong.

That’s one of the reasons I’m so passionate about it.

It needs to be opened up to tourists, families and local schools on excursions. It needs to be claimed and cherished by a proud Campbelltown — hopefully, with a ranger station, a koala interpretation centre, boardwalks and tours.

The fact is, national parks are dotted through every other corner of Sydney but Campbelltown (as usual) has always missed out, due largely to the opposition of the mines.

Parks are often described as the lungs of our city. But this area is also the kidneys of our river. Each time Dharawal is mentioned in the city media it’s accompanied by unsourced claims that millions of dollars will need to be paid in compensation to the mines. Yet one main lease has expired and the other is about to. Regardless, I’m not all that worried because Barry O’Farrell has told me to my face the park “will definitely” go ahead.

Mind you, so did Bob Carr.

Koala on the mend after being hit by cars July 14, 2011

A YOUNG male koala looking for love has survived horrific injuries on the Sunshine Coast after being struck by two cars coming from opposite directions while he was trying to cross a busy road.

Asha, a 4.9kg male koala suffered a broken jaw, broken bones in his face and broken ribs after he was struck near the Petrie train station at the end of June.

Vets say the three-year-old marsupial, who came close to biting straight through his tongue during the two collisions, was hit by a car coming from one direction. As he tried to race to safety on the other side of the road, Asha was then hit by another car.

Asha was admitted to the Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital on July 1st after being transferred from a veterinary clinic in Albany Creek. It’s currently breeding season for koalas but the same period is called “trauma season” by hospital staff due to the increased number of injured koalas that come through their doors during the period.

Koalas on the move are more prone to attacks from dogs and being struck by vehicles on the road as they search for a mate.

Anyone who sees sick or injured wildlife should contact Australia Zoo’s 24-hour hotline on 1300 369 652.

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