"Koala Bye", is one of the cutest songs that the Wiggles sing and is so quintessentially Australian, but then you could look at it another way... Koala's and their habitats are dwindling fast. The much loved national icon is under threat and the recent bushfires have devastated the koala population immensely.
As a business and on a personal level, we couldn't sit back and watch, we needed to act. So we raised funds for local charities Wasp Creek Fire Brigade and Koala Rescue Queensland (KRQ).
We chose the KRQ as the koala is a long loved friend of ours and we have come to understand how much help they need. Last year we adopted Binya through the Australia Koala Foundation. The team at KRQ are intrepid volunteers operating a not-for profit 24 hour rescue service for sick, injured and orphaned koalas throughout Queensland. Based in the Sunshine Coast they receive calls from far and wide and will do whatever it takes to save their favourite Aussie Battler! They have no time frame or travel boundaries and endeavour to service the entire Queensland area as best they can.
Susan, Ray and Murray are tireless in their pursuit to save the koala and also work with schools and communities to promote awareness about habitat protection and the risks associated with the decline in koala numbers. They also regularly plant new koala food trees in Queensland to promote future habitat for our koalas.
We asked Susan if she could give us some insight into the work they do, what motivates her team and how we can help:
1. Please tell us about your role with Koala Rescue Queensland
We are a small group so we all have similar roles. Primarily rescues come above everything, I can do ground rescues with poles that can get koalas up to 9m down from trees, it is hard work and every rescue is different, some koalas fight a lot harder, usually the girls. My partner and his brother have the training to do arboreal climbing to rescue any above that height and they are in high demand for many other rescue groups.
2. What motivates you to do the work you do, especially when faced with harsh conditions?
The koalas. They are addictive. Everything about them is amazing. They are just a unique animal and we are always learning new things from every koala. The big male koalas are usually the most gentle and trusting when in care. The girls tend to have the protective mothering nature which keeps them wary. Koalas have been in trouble for so long now and the need to do something can’t be trusted to governments as they have caused the decline in their numbers for decades.
3. What are some of the problems your charity and the Koalas have?
Government laws and the requirements to get permits to care for koalas are so difficult to obtain. The dreaded code of practice that is currently in place is out of date and needs to better reflect the true need for saving every koala possible. We are unable to release a koala that is sterile into the wild. In the case of cystitis in females, the ovaries can be removed in some cases and the koala saved. But at the moment under the current Department of Environmental Science they don’t make it through triage if cysts are present.
4. What are the best parts of the work you do?
Seeing a koala going home, is just amazing, although bittersweet not knowing if they are going to be safe, that their habitat is not going to be cleared. Almost every koala climbs just out of reach when released then stops and looks back at us, we like to think that is them saying thanks.
5. What can we all do to help?
Planting more primary koala food trees is securing future food sources, but saving habitat is the most important thing. On a more individual basis, keeping dogs contained at night when koalas are active, avoid fencing that a koala's head could get caught in, barbed wire is also a problem in rural areas. Look out for koalas with a wet dirty stained bottom or infected crusty looking eyes. This is a sign they need to be rescued and treated as soon as possible.
We're passionate about sustainability. To read more on this topic click here.