Lifestyle

Timberwolf the koala, aka Blinky Grille, set free

Veterinarian Amber Gillett watches in delight as Timberwolf, or Blinky Grille, heads for the treetops.
Veterinarian Amber Gillett watches in delight as Timberwolf, or Blinky Grille, heads for the treetops.

TIMBERWOLF the koala (aka Blinky Grille), who clung to the grille of a car for nearly 90 kilometres after being hit, was released back into the wild last Friday after finishing treatment at the Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital.

Hailed a miracle koala, Timberwolf came to the Australia Zoo Wildlife hospital in unusual circumstances for an animal that had come into contact with a car on the Bruce Hwy, with no affliction of any kind apart from a broken toenail and a chlamydia diagnosis, which was successfully treated.

The lack of trauma from his ordeal came as a pleasant surprise to vets at the Wild

life Hospital who are accustomed to seeing koalas in much worse shape.

Dr Amber Gillett, senior veterinarian and co-ordinator of veterinary research, treated Timberwolf at the Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital and was thrilled to be able to release him last Friday.

"Not all koalas that come into contact with cars are so lucky," Dr Gillett said.

"Which is why being able to release Timberwolf last week was the best result we could have hoped for.

"He's at a good age for breeding so we hope he'll contribute to existing koala populations in the area."

After his release, Timberwolf leapt from one eucalypt to another, giving Dr Gillett confidence that he will remain the survivor that came through the hospital doors at the end of July.

"Timberwolf is a tough koala and the fact that he's exploring his environment confidently indicates that he's still fit and healthy after being in care with us for three weeks," she said.

The Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital sees more than 800 koala patients each year.

More than half of these are suffering from trauma caused by being hit by cars and other vehicles, followed closely by injuries from domestic dog attacks and disease.

The Wildlife Hospital relies on donations from the public to continue its work to help koalas like Timberwolf, and ultimately safeguard the species.

Topics:  release wildlife

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