The koala rescued from Wapengo Lake by local oyster farmers has been taken in by Far South Coast native animal sanctuary Potoroo Palace.
Palace staff caught off guard Wednesday afternoon, but rose to an unexpected challenge.
When contacted by Chris Allen from the Office of Environment and Heritage, asking if they were able to house and take care of a rescued young male koala who needed somewhere urgently to recuperate, they sprang into action to create suitable space to accommodate this very special guest.
The young male was pulled out of Wapengo Lake after locals found him floating on an oyster bag Wednesday morning. He was then taken to Bega’s veterinary clinic.
He was only able to stay there long enough for a health check and rehydration as it was considered undesirable for him to continue his rehabilitation in an environment filled with the smells and sounds of domestic animals while recovering.
Mr Allen was very grateful.
“I’d like to express my thanks to Potoroo Palace staff for responding so well to this unexpected situation and for being so willing to take on the care of this valuable koala,” he said.
While koalas have been making the news lately it doesn’t mean the population is growing. Numbers are still small.
“Since the 1960s koala numbers in these coastal forests have been shrinking, and shrinking from the north,” Mr Allen explained.
It has been encouraging to see the young, underweight male in care, with a leaf in his mouth on his first day of recovery. Potoroo Palace staff are experienced in sourcing appropriate species of eucalyptus leaves for their own two resident koalas, although having one from a different area poses new challenges.
“It is important to provide him with the species of eucalypt he is already familiar with and to build him up to be strong again,” staff member John Marsh said.
Mr Allen believes there are only a relative few species of trees available providing adequate nutrition.
The young koala will remain in good care at the local sanctuary for what is likely to be a short time, until he is able to be released back to an area where he is less likely to be confronted with aggressive males.
It is probable that he had been pushed out by older males while trying to find his own territory.