Ipswich Koala Protection Society vice president Marilyn Spletter with Opal the 4 month old koala.
Ipswich Koala Protection Society vice president Marilyn Spletter with Opal the 4 month old koala.

Koalas cop brunt of prolonged drought

PROLONGED drought and above-average maximum temperatures have taken a toll on local koalas, with many struggling to find food in the wild.

Veterinarian Rebecca Larkin has donated her services to the Ipswich Koala Protection Society for the past decade and said the past year has been by far the worst.

"We've been really busy with a lot of sick adults and we're seeing lots of euthanasia," she said.

"We've now been inundated with orphans and the mums often have to be euthanised because they're in such poor condition.

"Even more disturbing has been the effects on the development of some of these babies."

Ms Larkin said with breeding season in full swing this summer, most joeys have been slowly starving all of their lives.

"They're smaller than normal, they're being weened off far too early because mum's milk is drying up," she said.

"We have three carers who go out and rescue koalas but also hand raise the orphans and they have to go out and collect leaves every couple of days to feed the joeys.

"You can't just pop down the shops to get koala food, so it's critical to get the right leaf and a good leaf.

"Starting the end of last year, our guys were driving hours out to Warwick and up to the Sunshine Coast to get leaves."

For Ms Larkin, there has been a slight silver lining to the recent devastation of the bushfires and that is awareness and the generosity of people who have been donating and giving back.

"It's surprising how urban they are, so people in Goodna, Collingwood Park, Redbank Plains, Brookwater and obviously Ripley and those new places, koalas do live there."

She said people can help by donating to the society, or at least leave out some water if you live in an area home to koalas and plant more trees.

Visit ikps.com.au for more information.



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