Help protect our koalas

Friends of the Koala rescuer and leaf collection coordinator Rick Stewart with Constable, who was hit by a car recently.
Friends of the Koala rescuer and leaf collection coordinator Rick Stewart with Constable, who was hit by a car recently. David Nielsen

THERE is a Constable in Lismore that needs some special care.

You can find him at the Friends of the Koala care centre on Rifle Range Road in Lismore.

Constable, who was hit by a car, is one of the hundreds of injured koalas for which Friends of the Koala provide refuge every year.

And due to sickness, road accidents and dog attacks, more and more koalas are ending up at the care centre.

As a result, the conservation group is looking for a fresh batch of volunteers to help protect the North Coast koala population.

“There has never been a more urgent need for trained and experienced koala rescuers, carers, advocates and educators,” Friends of the Koala President Lorraine Vass said.

Ms Vass said first-time volunteers concerned about koala numbers and their health were more than welcome to join the team.

“Friends of the Koala provide the perfect organisational framework for those people who want to help but are not sure how they can contribute,” she said.

With Friends of the Koala looking for about 30 new volunteers, a basic training course will be held on Saturday, February 27.

The course will provide information on everything from koala behaviour and ecology to how to collect leaves for koalas to eat.

After that, new recruits will get hands-on experience working with established volunteers from their first day on the job.

The good news is it does not take much time to make a positive difference to the koala population, with volunteers only needing to put in just two hours a week.

“You can do as much or little as you like. You’ll be welcomed with open arms,” leaf collection co-ordinator Rick Stewart said.

Mr Stewart said there were plenty of rewards for those who chose to volunteer.

“New volunteers can expect to join a really dedicated group. They can expect friendship.

“And they can expect people already doing it to be very caring, open and share their knowledge.”

The end goal, where possible, is to nurse the koalas back to where they can re-enter the wild.

Mr Stewart said seeing this happen made the hard work worth it.

“We are very fortunate we get to release koalas. It’s really quite a delightful thing to do,” he said.

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