We sat down with Peter Dowse from Pine Rivers Koala Care Association to get the 411 on all things koalas.
Moreton Bay Region is lucky to be home to some of Australia’s cutest wildlife animals including the koala so it is important to get-to-know these furry friends to keep us all safe!
Q1. What are 7 things everyone should know about koalas?
They’re heavy! An adult koala can weigh anywhere between 6-9kg!They live to around 15 to 18 years in captivity - less in the wild. Newborns are the size of a Broad Bean (2cm and referred to as a "Pinkie"), and are blind and hairless.Their fur is different depending on where they live (short fur in the north, longer shaggier fur down south)They’re quick. They can actually run as fast as a rabbit when they need toKoala is an Aboriginal word for ‘no water’. Whilst Koalas mainly eat eucalyptus leaves to hydrate, they will drink water in severe drought or when sick. Habitat destruction, disease, domestic dogs and vehicles are the biggest threats to our Koala population in Moreton Bay
Q2. If I spot a hurt koala, what do I do?
The first thing to do is to call our rescue line on 0401 350 799 and we will get the appropriate details from you to coordinate our rescue team to come out and look over the situation for you.
Our rescuers will ask you a series of questions about the location, behaviour and any visible injuries on the animal and give you advice as to what to do next. If a koala is in a tree but has a very brown bottom, you need to phone us ASAP for a health check. Always phone 0401350799 for any sightings and an experienced koala rescuer will check on it.
From there it’s important to ensure they you are safe. DO NOT ATTEMPT TO PICK UP OR HANDLE THE ANIMAL, but do keep a close eye on it so you can see where the animal goes if it’s on the move. ALL INJURED ANIMALS SHOULD BE KEPT WARM (an old towel thrown over the koala will help) AND IN THE DARK.
Q3. Is it OK to cuddle a wild koala?
As cute and cuddly as Koalas look, they’re incredibly strong and can pack a nasty bite and or scratch when trying to be handled so our advice is not to approach or handle wild animals of any kind. Enjoy them from a distance with your camera :-)
Q4. Where can you spot a Koala in Moreton Bay Region?
We are lucky enough to have wild koalas live throughout the Moreton Bay Region, in our parks, reserves and our suburban backyards.
Q5. Tell us a bit about what Pine Rivers Koala Care Association Inc do and how you support the koala population.
Our Association started back in 1995 and is made up entirely of volunteers. We provide a 24/7 ambulance service for the rescue and rehabilitation of all koalas and wildlife in the Pine Rivers / Moreton Bay Region. We attend to over 300 koala calls and 1000 wildlife calls each year.
Our goal is to educate the residents of and visitors to our amazing district on all aspects of our beautiful local koalas. Did you know that Pine Rivers hosts the "...healthiest urban population of koalas in Australia"? so it’s incredibly important we all do our best to protect our koala’s for future generations to enjoy.
As volunteers we take on the following responsibilities
- Increasing public awareness of koala’s and its protection
- Protecting koala habitat by working with or lobbying government
- Reestablishing koala habitat by working with the Moreton Bay Regional Council and other organisations in tree plantings
- Rescue and rehabilitate sick, injured and orphaned koalas
- Participate in the collation of statistical information on the koala population
Q6. If someone wants to support and help the koalas what can they do?
The best thing they can do is join our organisation as we’re always looking for more members. You can find out more about us on our website
If you would just like to help Koalas in your area, you can plant the right types of trees (Here’s a great PDF about the right types of trees to plant for Koalas from Wildcare) remind your friends and family members to keep dogs and cats inside or in their backyards at night so they don’t hurt native wildlife, always walk your dog on a leash (dog attacks on Koalas are common) drive slowly through koala habitats (especially at night) and and be aware of what to do when you see a hurt or injured Koala.
Photo credit - Pine Rivers Koala Care Association unless otherwise noted.
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