Koala orphaned after horrific motor vehicle accident

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

A horrific incident between a ute and an adult female koala has left a joey orphaned in the Central West of NSW. The koala joey, now fondly known as ‘Koala Bill’, is slowly recovering.

“We'd love to be able to report these incidents are few and far between, but they are not. Estimates from various sources indicate we can lose up to 4,000 koalas per year to motor incidents,” says Justin McKee, WIRES Spokesperson.

“This poor little creature is showing all the signs of severe trauma. He has lost his mother, will now be in care with WIRES for quite some time until he has been rehabilitated back into the wild.

Louise O’Brien, WIRES volunteer has nursing Koala Bill 24/7 since he was brought into care on 2 October 2013.

“Koala Bill is undoubtedly experiencing severe trauma. It’s quite upsetting,” says Louise O’Brien, Koala

“His appetite is irregular and he has spent quite a lot of time calling for his Mum. On the way to the vet from the incident, he clung to the back of his dead mother in desperation, all the while calling out over and over again.

“Koala Bill is around 8-9months of age, weighs only one kilogram, and is just at the point of transitioning from milk to eucalyptus leaves. In order to help him digest the hard fibres of leaves, his mother would have just started passing on .

“This is a critical growth period for the koala joey. It’s very important he puts on weight. I’ve worked hard to help calm him and this in turn has helped to regulate his appetite.

“It’s fantastic to report after a week that his intake of milk has doubled. Like all animals, koalas require a very specific, natural diet in order to flourish through growth periods and maintain good health.

WIRES was recently invited to present information on the plight of the koala at conference for the festival Entijuanarte in Tijuana, Mexico.

“After speaking in Mexico about the koala, I learned just how highly regarded the cuddly koala is in the eyes of those outside Australia. People overseas are dumbfounded to learn their populations in some parts of Australia are vulnerable to extinction,” says Mr McKee.

The driver of the vehicle that hit and killed the koala claimed it was sitting in the middle of the road and only became visible after turning a corner.

“Incidents like the one involving Koala Bill remind us that we have a great part to play in maintaining the populations of animals like the koala. By driving with caution in regional and city roads where koalas may be present, we could help prevent an unnecessary death.

“We are very grateful that the driver stopped to investigate what had happened and ensured the joey was given into appropriate care,” states Mr McKee.

To become a regular donor of WIRES, go to www.wires.org.au or phone (02) 8977 3396.

To view footage of Koala Bill online, go to: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dqJ4NEG2OuM.

Media Contact: WIRES (02) 8977 3327

Media Email: [email protected]

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