The extreme heat is sparking a rise in admissions at Adelaide’s only koala hospital … 12-month-old Meadow cools down with some water. Picture: Mike Burton Source: News Limited
AMORE than 20 heat-affected koalas are being treated at the Adelaide Wildlife and Koala Hospital.
The koalas have been admitted for heat stress with some put on a drip to rehydrate them.
More sick animals are expected today as native wildlife bears the brunt of SA’s heatwave.
Twenty-three koalas have been admitted since Tuesday, with two euthanased after suffering renal failure and five remaining in “intensive care”.
The Plympton hospital, which opened late last year, is the state’s first hospital dedicated to caring for rescued koalas, can treat about 20 injured or sick animals at a time.
Do you leave water out for koalas in the heat?
“When they are brought in we give them a blood and urine test to check their health and then if necessary a vet will put them on a drip,” hospital founder Rae Campbell said.
The length of each koala’s stay in the hospital depended on the case, she said.
Once rehydrated, they were able to be returned to the wild.
Mrs Campbell urged people to look out for koalas which might be affected by the high temperatures, as well as other native wildlife such as possums and lizards.
Heat-stressed koalas left their perches in trees to search for water on the ground, she said.
“If they are on the ground it is a pretty good indication they are heat-stressed,” she said.
“It is easy to pick if an animals or bird is stressed or sick.
“With birds, it looks like they are panting.”
She advised people to leave an ice-cream container filled with water at the base of a tree to minimise risks posed by cars and dogs when koalas went in search of water.
Mrs Campbell said koalas were also at risk of drowning in pools and ponds.
Residents should tether a rope to a tree or a fence and place it in the water to allow koalas to climb out.
The hospital welcomed donations for air conditioners for the koala treatment room of the volunteer-run hospital to keep the animals comfortable and assist in their rehabilitation.
If you see a koala or other native animal in distress, call the Adelaide Koala and Wildlife Hospital on 8297 2455 or Fauna Rescue on 8289 0896.