HABITAT DESTRUCTION &
This is the single biggest threat to our koala's survival. Clearing of habitat destroys the koala's shelter and food supply. This ultimately displaces the koala from its established home-range, creates stress and forces the koala to move into unfamiliar areas ie another koala's territory, in harm's way of car strike, dog attack or attack by a dominant male koala. The end result will be an injured, sick, diseased koala needing time in care for treatment if its not too late.
(See more about habitat on our Habitat page).
DOG & LIVESTOCK ATTACKS ie Cattle & Horses
Every year koalas are Injured and/or killed by dogs/cows/horses. Even a very small dog can inflict serious injuries to a koala. Never allow your dog to roam freely, especially at night, and always walk your dog on a lead. Report stray or roaming dogs to your Council Ranger. If you live in a koala area we would encourage you to confine your pets at night even if your yard is fully fenced as koalas can climb fences and can become trapped in a yard with a dog. In the case of livestock, the koala can suffer injuries such as broken bones when trodden on, can be picked up and thrown by these large animals, may be kicked causing internal injury. If you suspect that a dog/livestock has caused injury to a koala please contact us immediately for assistance. Injury may be more serious than it appears to you & should be checked by an experienced rescuer who knows what to look for.
Most koalas get hit by at vehicles at night (between dusk and dawn). Koalas are active at this time visiting their favourite food trees and protecting their territory. During breeding season, August - February, they are also more vulnerable spending time on the ground in search of a mate. Koala Warning Signs have been installed in 'high koala activity' areas to alert motorists of their presence. If you hit a koala with your vehicle, or you find a koala Injured on the road, please stop and call immediately for assistance. Do not put it up a tree and think that It will be alright as it could be suffering from serious injuries that are not apparent to you. We can't stress this enough as we have seen koalas climb trees with fractured legs & other injuries.
While koalas can swim, swimming pools pose a problem for the koala due to their slippery sides which prevents the koala from climbing out. Potential drowning can be averted by tying a large knotted rope to the fence and dangle Into the pool to provide the koala with an escape route.
Catastrophic fires erupted in our area in the summer of 2019/2020 which was named BLACK SUMMER. KIC's fire-ground crew rescued 65 koalas from the fire zones with the help of community members. The fires ripped through major koala habitat areas, were high intensity burns due to the preceding years of drought. Our koalas & food trees were already under enormous stress.
KIC Facility treated koalas that were severely burnt, suffering smoke inhalation, found in burnt out areas with no food or shelter, koala joeys that had been abandoned, koalas that were exhausted from the heat, koalas that were severely dehydrated and koalas that died on the fire-ground or shortly after admission.
Fire ravaged areas take months to years to recover if they do at all. Those koalas who survived are under enormous stress having to move into nearby green areas for food & shelter. This may cause additional problems for individual koalas ie moving into another koalas home range causing turf war between them; koalas being displaced & becoming unwell due to the stress; the landscape has been changed causing confusion; koalas having to cross unfamiliar areas including roads bringing them into conflict of vehicles, or even into residential areas with dogs.
Such events caused stress for our koalas on a large scale. Over time those koalas will be vulnerable to disease ie chlamydia. If not brought into care for treatment the ongoing effect will eventually lead to a very sick koala & death.
DISEASE IN KOALAS
All of the above scenarios can be stressful events for koalas. A common disease in koalas is Chlamydia which is stress-related. This often shows up in koalas as conjunctivitis and wet bottom. This is extremely painful, highly contagious to other koalas and may be life-threatening if left untreated. Chlamydia affects the whole koala making it very unwell. Quite often these koalas will be found huddled on the ground putting them in immediate danger of predation. Please contact us immediately if you suspect a koala is ill. Chances are the outward signs of chlamydia ie wet bottom /conjunctivitis are just the tip of the iceberg.
What Can You Do?
Drive slowly and carefully in areas where koalas are known to exist and especially where there are 'Koala Warning Signs' (these areas are where we have had multiple koala encounters). KIC has numerous large signs around the area warning that koalas live in the area and that display the 24hr Koala Rescue number.
Report any dead/injured koalas you may come across immediately to our 24hr Rescue Service so an experienced koala rescuer can assist the koala.
If you hit a koala while driving PLEASE STOP. Place a blanket, towel or coat over the koala and safely remove it from the road. Contact our 24hr Rescue Service immediately. Many koalas are hit again and again because no one stopped to help.
DO NOT leave the koala unattended or attempt to put it up a tree as while the koala may appear uninjured to you, it needs to be examined by our Facility Manager/Vet and observed. Native animals can disguise sickness and injures well.
Female koalas may well be carrying back or pouch joeys. Joeys can be thrown on impact and may survive but may not be with the female when found. She should be assessed onsite by one of our experienced rescuers to check for lactation so a search of the area can be undertaken if required. Likewise, if joeys are found with the dead mother they should be kept with her and you should contact us for immediate help. This will lessen the stress of the joey. Please do not try to remove joeys from the pouch or teat.
Please be aware that koalas do bite and scratch and may lash out when they have been injured or are frightened. Remember, koalas are wild animals & should be treated with caution, even though you may think of them as 'cute and cuddly'. It is always best to get advice to minimise further injury to the koala or yourself.
24 hour Koala rescue service
In the manning, great lakes & Gloucester area0439 406 770