AFTER a six-week stay with Koalas in Care to recover from a serious illness, volunteer carers and National Parks and Wildlife Service rangers released ‘Tipper’ the koala back into his home territory in Coneac State Conservation Area, north of Gloucester, last month.
Tipper arrived at Koalas in Care aboard a tip-truck in mid January.
“Tipper was presented to us in pretty bad shape suffering with bilateral conjunctivitis, mostly as a result of Chlamydia, a common and often fatal disease in koalas,” Koalas in Care volunteer Christeen McLeod said.
“In addition he was severely dehydrated. It took a six-week of treatment of antibiotics, pain relief, antibiotic eye ointment and surgery to remove excess granulated tissue from his eyes, before Tipper was well enough to be rehabilitated back into the wild.”
Koalas in Care provides a 24-hour koala rescue service to Greater Taree, Gloucester and the northern half of the Great Lakes shires.
The organisation is based in Taree and operates a purpose-built facility to care for and rehabilitate sick, injured or orphaned koalas in the area.
National Parks and Wildlife Service Barrington Tops area manager Anthony Signor commended the group for its work rehabilitating sick and injured koalas, caring for around 85 koalas each year.
“Caring for any sick or injured native animal is very time consuming and costly and the dedication and commitment of koala carers is immense,” Mr Signor said.
“Although koalas are seen often in the lower altitude national parks in the Gloucester area, they are listed nationally as threatened species and their status is vulnerable in many areas, due to habitat loss, disease, cars and dogs.
“It’s always a good day at work when you see one that has been successfully rehabilitated and returned to its natural environment - after all, they are one of our national icons.”
Anyone interested in volunteering for Koalas in Care can phone 6552 2183 or visit the website www.koalasincare.org.au.
You can also track Tipper’s progress back to health via the Koalas in Care Facebook page.