WELCOME DRINK: Clint Woods found this injured koala on the side of the road to Fishery Bay yesterday morning. He gave it water and waited for animal rescue to pick it up. Photographs: Ron Campbell Television News
MIKKIRA Station was among properties burnt in the Sleaford Mere fire on Sunday but it was too early to tell yesterday what impact the fire might have had on the local koala colony.
Bet De La Perrelle lives at Mikkira Station and her house was one of the ones to be saved from the flames.
“I left as soon as it started because it started not far from Mikkira,” Mrs De La Perrelle said.
“I went straight down to my brother’s place, Koodinga.”
Her brother Bob Theakstone and his sons went to Mikkira to protect her house, along with the CFS and a number of other private fire units.
“Other people were coming in from everywhere, we felt we were very protected.”
Mrs De La Perrelle said she didn’t know what impact the fire had had on the koala population.
“Quite a lot of scrub burnt (but) there are a lot of gum trees left.”
Her daughter Helen De La Perrelle said there were still lots of manna gums or “koala trees” left that had not been burnt.
She hoped any koalas that were in the path of the fire had been able to find their way to another tree where they would be safe.
Clint Woods found an injured koala on the Fishery Bay Road on Monday morning and waited with it for more than four hours for animal rescue to arrive.
He said the animal had small burns on its hands and feet and some scorching on its body.
“He was not looking too well.”
Mr Woods said he had not seen much wildlife around the fire ground but he did see a kangaroo crossing the road nearby.
Mikkira Station is now closed and people can keep up to date on when it will reopen through its Facebook page.
Rescued From Fire
On Sunday an out of control bushfire tore through scrub and farm land south of Port Lincoln.
One home, 14 holiday apartments, a caravan, a campervan and other property were destroyed in the fire.
Luckily no human lives were lost in the blaze, but the same can’t be said for local wildlife.
Koala’s, kangaroos, emus and lots of reptiles lived in the thickly scrubbed area, which is close to the Lincoln National Park.
This koala was one of the lucky ones. It was rescued by a CFS volunteer who shared some water with it, before calling into authorities on the radio and asking for it to be picked up.
I met the koala on the side of the road, where it waited to be picked up by a Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources employee Dirk Holman, who took it in for treatment.
The vet is Simon Arnesen, who along with assistant Blaise Baldissera, treated the koala before sending it out to Adelaide for further treatment.
We followed the koala, which Blaise nicknamed ‘Caramello’ into the clinic and you can follow all this on the video.
Aren’t we lucky to have such awesome volunteers who will take the time to save wildlife, not to mention a local vet who will treat them!
The reason why I got this footage, is that police and SES wouldn’t let us onto the fire ground – where we were headed.
Rural reporter Brooke Neindorf and I were at the road block, getting as much content as we could to help cover the fire and what was happening from that point.
We saw; people heading back out to the fire zone to check on friends, family and property, CFS travelling out to the scene to relieve crews on the ground; a truck heading out to a property to pick up sheep on a property.
If were were able to get onto the fire ground we wouldn’t have got this footage.
Sometimes you just have to realise that you’re there for a reason. If we’d have gotten frustrated and gone back to the office we would have missed the story.
As it turned out, other media had seen the koala on the fire ground, but didn’t get the footage of it being treated – this is the only shots of it, so I’ve got to be thankful for that.
The koala was sent to Adelaide for further treatment and is being cared for by the Australian Marine Wildlife Research Organisation, who also have another koala that was injured during the bushfire.
Story By Emma Pedler: ABC Open West Coast SA