Koala Protection: Rescue, Rehabilitate, Release, and Secure - Australia, New South WalesPlanting a future for koalas, one tree at a time
(Sydney, Australia - 26 August 2022) — An orphaned koala joey who was rescued from the catastrophic floods in New South Wales has been released back into the wild after months of rehabilitation.
Gulliver was rescued amid the torrential downpours in Tregeagle in the NSW Northern Rivers region on February 28. He was 14-months-old at the time and was found walking on the ground alone, calling for his mum, who sadly couldn’t be found.
Once rescued, he was taken to Friends of the Koala which works closely with IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare) to rescue, rehabilitate and release koalas in the region.
Because of his young age, Gulliver was put into home care with an experienced koala carer and was assessed by IFAW-sponsored vet Dr Jodie Wakeman. He wasn’t suffering from any underlying health issues but because of his young age, he had to be monitored until old enough to be released back into the wild.
He was thriving in care and was described by volunteers as "alert, inquisitive and gentle-natured.”
“During the catastrophic floods in our region, we were surrounded by loss. People lost their homes and possessions; animals lost their habitat and sometimes their lives,” Dr Wakeman said.
“Being directly involved in the rescue, rehabilitation and release of Gulliver, who was lucky to survive and has thrived in care, has given everyone at Friends of the Koala a positive focus during a difficult time and gives us hope for the future of our endangered species.”
IFAW Animal Rescue Program Officer Nicole Rojas-Marin said one survivor from such a catastrophic disaster is vital for the conservation of the species.
“Floods have an immense impact on our wildlife including koalas. While people may think koalas are safe at the top of trees, the reality is that they’re at real risk of being separated from their mothers or, becoming injured and unwell. For such an iconic species like the koala — which is already endangered in three states, it’s another threat to their survival,” Ms Rojas-Marin said.
“Gulliver is very lucky that he was rescued when he was — he could have ended up in a far worse situation but instead after months of expert care has now been released back into the wild where he’ll hopefully thrive.”
The catastrophic floods that hit New South Wales and Queensland had devastating impacts on people, communities, and wildlife — many of which were impacted by the Black Summer bushfires two years earlier. Animals and ecosystems which may have only just begun to bounce back, have been pushed further to the edge.
With Australia experiencing catastrophic drought, bushfires, and floods in the past two years alone, IFAW will continue to build community resilience against future disasters which are increasing in intensity and frequency as a result of climate change.
Photos and video available here.
About IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare) - IFAW is a global non-profit helping animal and people thrive together. We are experts and everyday people, working across seas, oceans and in more than 40 countries around the world. We rescue, rehabilitate and release animals, and we restore and protect their natural habitats. The problems we’re up against are urgent and complicated. To solve them, we match fresh thinking with bold action. We partner with local communities, governments, non-governmental organisations and businesses. Together, we pioneer new and innovative ways to help all species flourish. See how at ifaw.org
About Friends of the Koala – Friends of the Koala believe in a future for koalas. For the past 35 years, Friends of the Koala has been committed to conserving koalas and preserving and enhancing their habitat, particularly in the Northern Rivers region of New South Wales. In doing this, we aim to make a key contribution to Australia’s biodiversity. Our core business is rescuing, rehabilitating, and releasing koalas. Protecting and enhancing koala habitat, educating the community about koalas and issues that affect them. As well as advocating on behalf of koalas and assisting relevant research. Friends of the Koala currently rescues more than a third of the sick, injured and orphaned koalas rescued in NSW (average of 350 koalas per year).
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