'Emaciated' baby koala fighting for life at Australia Zoo
"UNDERWEIGHT and dehydrated” was how Australia Zoo described the six-month-old baby koala which was admitted to their care last Thursday morning after being found with its mother at Widgee.
The pair were found at the base of a tree by a resident, emaciated and suffering exposure from the freezing cold.
They were taken to Gympie and District Veterinary Services, and while Dr Shannon Coyne is optimistic for the joey's recovery he said the prognosis was not good.
"It was pretty skinny. It's got a long way to come back,” Dr Coyne said.
"I've never seen a koala that thin before, so I'd be pretty worried about it.”
After receiving glucose and fluids to increase its energy levels, the joey was taken to Australia Zoo for more extensive care.
While every effort was made to save the mother's life she died shortly after being found.
"From what we could determine she was dead on arrival; absolute skin and bones, but no other sign of sickness.”
Australia Zoo public relations manager Alex Halford said the cause of the mother's death was still unknown, but she was extremely malnourished. Mr Halford said the joey had been cleared of all other diseases and afflictions.
He added that, given the continual decline of the koala populations in Australia, every effort should be made to help the species survive.
"Koalas are brought to the Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital for a number of reasons including disease, being hit by cars, dog attacks and babies who have been orphaned,” he said.
"It's important that we consider the survival of the already struggling koala population in Queensland in everything we do, from day-to-day activities like locking up the dog or driving the car to long-term and large scale development planning.”
According to advocate Michelle Daly, from the Koala Action Group - Gympie region, said the koalas were likely impacted by the dry conditions the area has been experiencing recently, which has wreaked havoc on their food supply.
"Just from what I'm picking up and my observation is that the koalas in the western part of the region are doing it tough,” she said.
"I often say to people that's where we seem to see the sicker ones.”
Anybody who sees a koala in distress or needing help can contact Gympie ANARRA Wildlife Rescue on 5484 9111.