Noosa koala sanctuary one step closer with $35k donation
HOPES of helping Noosa's wild koalas survive the latest bushfire crisis have received a massive shot in the arm with $35,000 donated towards the purchase of a sanctuary in the hinterland.
Sleepless nights worried about the grim fire toll for Queensland Koala Crusaders leader Meghan Halverson, turned to intense gratitude after the new year's day pledge by the US-based Friends of Australian Wildlife Conservancy. This is on top of more than $3000 pledged online towards the goals of $100,000 to secure a safe haven for koalas possibly between Kin Kin and Cooran or in the Pomona area.
"They just gave us a $35,000 donation, it was on new year's day, I couldn't believe it," she said.
A sanctuary might work in with the major koala corridor 2400 hectare land acquisition at Yurol and Ringtail State Forests orchestrated by the Noosa Council, Noosa Parks Association and the State Government.
This comes as Ms Halverson has grave fears for most of the 20 plus koalas she believed had been holding on in Peregian through to Weyba Down and Doonan.
"In these high canopy fires, very little would have survived," Ms Halverson said.
"That's habitat that's not going to regenerate and be replaced for at least a few years, probably five to 10 years.
"I fear the worst for the centre of it because we walked through there the day after Christmas and through the following week.
"They were able to find some koalas that were alive and they're dealing with a lot of dehydration issues. The drought even before the fires caused the leaves to be so dry.
"We have found a couple on the outer fringes and we're trying to rescue one in particular because her fur looked a bit rough."
She said the goal is "to start looking at new property and to buy a few hectares to start with … whatever we can do to find a good soft release site and also somewhere where 'non-releasables' can be placed as well," she said.
Ms Halverson said the QKC gave the seed funding for the planting of the major wildlife corridor at Yurol and Ringtail for the first 24,000 trees.
"There's 7000 in the ground there now."
Her group is keen to work in further with the stakeholders like the NPA.
Another ray of light came at year's end with the release female koala Ingenia in Tewantin National Park "with little pinky (baby koala) on board".
"Which is brilliant because we just lost one from that same area that we had rehabilitated for a few months, but it just didn't make it.
"We took that koala (Ingenia) in for a health check and she's got the clean bill of health. We're still hopeful (for koala survival) as we rehabilitate new habitat.
"If we had a sanctuary we could have a place where they could be looked after until they are ready to be released."