Thirsty Koalas Turn To Backyards In Search Of Water

Trott Park resident Rae Campbell, co-ordinator for the koala rescue division of Fauna Rescue of SA, is calling for volunteers to train as koala rescuers.

Picture: Sam Wundke Source: adelaidenow

DOZENS of thirsty koalas struggling to cope with SA’s recent hot, dry weather are badly injuring themselves as they search for water.

Volunteer organisation Fauna Rescue SA is taking in up to 17 sick and injured koalas every day as the dehydrated animals cross busy roads and enter private homes – where they are often attacked by pet dogs – in search of water.

The organisation is so overrun with work, the group of 12 volunteers is calling for up to 50 people to join to help cope with the workload.

“On a quiet day we might get five call outs and on a busy one we’ll get 17, so we need people to help,” Fauna Rescue SA koala co-ordinator Rae Campbell said.

Ms Campbell, who is looking after four baby koalas, said she had spent many sleepless nights bottle-feeding the animals.

“We get calls day and night to rescue sick and injured koalas … wen you help nurse one back to health, it’s the best feeling,” she said.

Ms Campbell said koalas were being rescued from across the metropolitan area.

She said the division needs volunteers from across Adelaide – particularly from “koala-friendly areas” including Belair, Athelstone and Happy Valley.

UniSA urban ecology professor Chris Daniels said the state’s recent hot, dry weather could be why more koalas were distressed this year.

“(They’re) more dehydrated at this time of year because their leaves are much drier,” he said.

“That is why they try and drink water from swimming pools or bird baths and they can get attacked by dogs and hit by cars in the process.”

Fauna Rescue SA and the RSPCA work together to rescue native animals. RSPCA SA Chief Inspector Simon Richards says last year the RSPCA rescue unit performed 1882 rescues and 675 native animal rescues.

The koala rescue training will be held at the Burnside Civic Centre, Greenhill Rd, Tusmore, on Sunday, February 17, at 11am. Contact Fauna Rescue on 8289 0896 before the day if interested.

Amelia Broadstock and Katrina Stokes - adelaidenow - January 14, 201310:00PM


Heat too much for koala to bear

The recent extreme heat not only caused problems for people – it also stressed some wildlife including a koala at Mitcham (see photo above).

“I live next to a reserve adjacent to Brownhill Creek and koalas are regular visitors to my property and have suitable trees to dine on,” Dr Ian Carmichael said.

“This particular fellow was severely heat stressed and dehydrated and came to ground as they usually do.

“I estimate that he drank 1.5– 2.5 litres of water over a couple of days (a huge intake for an animal that generally survives on condensation on gum leaves and rainfall droplets licked from the bark) before returning to a sapling gum in the reserve.

“I had serious reservations concerning his survival prospects at that stage, however on the third day he made his way to a gum tree in my yard and he seemed well rested and comfortably curled up in a fork in the tree and did some evening grunting.

“He has now moved on, so I believe the outcome has been favourable,” Dr Carmichael said.

thirsty koala drinking in the garden.

Story By Stuart Stansfield On14/01/2013 , 9:01 AM


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