Tragic outcome for 'malnourished' koala

Published 10:40am 29 May 2023

Tragic outcome for 'malnourished' koala
Words by Ashleigh Howarth

A koala which was at the centre of a social media post after being photographed drinking from a pond at a local golf course has died.

Moreton Bay Koala Rescue shared the sad news on its Facebook page informing the public the koala, named Lamington-Lou, was “so unwell that there was nothing the Wildlife Hospital could do to save him”.

The not-for-profit volunteer run organisation had previously issued a public plea for the community to help to find Lamington-Lou after a picture of him drinking out of the pond was shared online by 9 News Queensland.

After being alerted to the post, Moreton Bay Koala Rescue expressed their disappointment for the image being shared as “a feel good/cool story”, saying it was “obvious this koala is very malnourished”.

The group noticed straight away Lamington-Lou’s "back bone and hips/lower leg bones were showing", and said it was not common for koalas to drink from bodies of water because “they should be getting enough hydration from eucalyptus leaves”.

Sadly, this was not the first time Lamington-Lou had come into contact with wildlife carers, with Moreton Bay Koala Rescue saying he was “originally rescued back in November 2021”.

Above: The social media post by 9 News Queensland.

Community rallies together

The initial Facebook post from Moreton Bay Koala Rescue urging the community to help them find Lamington-Lou attracted 70 comments and 125 shares by concerned members of the public.

While the outcome was a tragic one, Moreton Bay Koala Rescue said on Facebook there were a few small positives to take away from this situation.

“The small positive out of this situation is Lamington-Lou’s story has reached so many people, many who had no idea what it was that indicated he was unwell,” the post said.

“We are hopeful at least one person out there might have learnt what to look for or to report their sightings in the future so they (koalas) can all be visibly health checked. We appreciate every call.”

Above: Moreton Bay Koala Rescue's tribute to Lamington-Lou, which was shared on Facebook. 

How to spot a sick or injured koala 

According to the Australian Koala Foundation, sick or injured koalas may show some of the following symptoms:

  • Puffy or inflamed eyes which may have a crust or a weepy discharge surrounding them;
  • Dribbling saliva from the mouth;
  • Fur that appears constantly wet or matted;
  • A dirty tail with brown staining;
  • Weakness or unusual behaviour;
  • Remaining in the same tree for more than a few days;
  • Sitting on the ground or very low down in a tree and not moving when approached. (This may indicate that the animal is too weak to climb);
  • Not using all four limbs normally while walking or climbing;
  • Very skinny and emaciated appearance;
  • Signs of trauma such as cuts or blood on fur.

About Moreton Bay Koala Rescue

Moreton Bay Koala Rescue Inc is a not-for-profit volunteer organisation involved in the direct rescue and care of injured, sick or orphaned koalas across the Moreton Bay Region, including Caboolture, Redcliffe and Pine Rivers.

Dedicated rescue teams drive thousands of kilometres across the region each month where they pick up injured, sick or orphaned koalas that have been spotted by members of the public.

The koalas are then taken to different wildlife hospitals for treatment or taken to experienced wildlife carers for their rehabilitation and eventual release back into the wild.

The group are passionate about saving as many koalas as possible and rely on the generosity of the community so they can continue their vital work in ensuring the koala does not face extinction.

The group also welcomes new members who would like to volunteer their time to become a rescuer or ambulance driver, with on-the-job training provided.

Contact them

If you have sighted a sick or injured koala, phone them directly on 0401 080 333.

The group encourages all koala sightings to be reported so one of their dedicated volunteers can do a visual health check.

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