Wildlife veterinarians at Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital are run off their feet during trauma season (also known as breeding season), and this year is no exception. Last week, a young koala was admitted to the Hospital suffering from injuries sustained in a vicious attack by five dogs near Kallangur.
Peta, a three year-old female koala, was brought to the hospital by wildlife rescuers with two broken legs, puncture and tear wounds to her limbs and abdomen, and she was also missing half of her right ear.
According to Senior Veterinarian, Dr Amber Gillett, koalas are on the move looking for new habitat and a mate during breeding season. “Sadly, it’s during this time that they’re most vulnerable to conflict with domestic pets and vehicles,” said Dr Gillett.
Last year, 71 koalas were admitted to the wildlife hospital as a result of domestic dog attacks. With South East Queensland’s koalas already listed as vulnerable with high incidences of infertility and disease, this number is too high, and it is crucial to protect remaining koala populations.
“There is no doubt that both loss of koala habitat and developing infrastructure impact severely on koala populations, not to mention disease. In situations where you combine habitat pressure, domestic dog attacks and car strikes in conjunction with Chlamydial disease, the outcome for koalas is devastating!” added Dr Gillett.
Despite treating many of the Hospital’s patients, Amber was shocked by the extreme nature of Peta’s injuries. She hoped that sharing Peta’s case would encourage pet owners to be mindful of koalas and act responsibly.
“Domestic pet attacks are preventable, and in this instance, Peta was very lucky to survive. This is a timely reminder that there are simple and effective ways to protect koalas. It’s as simple as keeping dogs inside or tied up at night time when koalas are most active,” added Dr Amber.
The Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital also encourage members to slow down when driving in wildlife areas and report all sick and injured wildlife to the Hospital’s 24-hour wildlife emergency hotline by phoning 1300 369 652.
Picture: Dr Amber Gillett with Peta – Photo Credit: Ben Beaden/Australia Zoo.