Ashley's set to go wild

Ashley, 7, is having his third visit to the Koala Care Centre but is just about ready for release.
Ashley, 7, is having his third visit to the Koala Care Centre but is just about ready for release. Jacklyn Wagner

A RESILIENT koala named Ashley has survived crossing the Bruxner Hwy at least 32 times in a little more than two years.

The seven year-old male koala is about to be released after his third visit to the Koala Care Centre in East Lismore.

A collar tracked how many times he crossed the highway from November 2008 to September 2010.

Care co-ordinator for Friends of the Koala Pat Barnidge said Ashley's luck ran out when he was hit by a car on November 19.

"The guy in the car behind saw him get hit and he (the koala) just got up and shook himself and he shot up the tree," she said.

"The guy behind phoned it in and we took him up to Currumbin and wonder of wonders, there was nothing wrong. So we've got him here and we will release him by the end of the week."

Ms Barnidge said it was important for members of the public to notify wildlife carers if they saw an injured animal.

"Most people do stop but there are some who hit them and don't," she said. "I had one yesterday that I had to take up to Currumbin and she had a broken leg. If she hadn't been brought in she would have died a horrible death."

The current Draft Comprehensive Koala Plan of Management for south-east Lismore includes measures to try to prevent koalas being killed or injured on roads.

The plan requires the Lismore City Council to audit existing koala road safety measures and target black spots. The council would also be required to reduce speeds, install signage and create exclusion fencing and underpasses.

The plan is now the subject of a rescission motion.

Friends of the Koala is also caring for a six-year-old koala named Mikala and her baby, 11-month-old Bianca.

Ms Barnidge said the pair were found on a horse stud at Monaltrie Hill on Wyrallah Rd.

"There are only about five trees there and this poor little mum was out in the middle of a paddock with a baby on her back and the crows were attacking her," she said.

Both koalas will be kept in long-term care as the mother is underweight and suffering from anemia.

Ms Barnidge said koalas were tough but they needed protection.

"Despite all the things against them, and there's many, they have an amazing resiliency and stoicism. They have woven a bit of a spell over me I think," she said.


Topics:  bruxner highway east lismore koala

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