My work at the Wildlife Hospital in Beerwah was coordinated by Kylie, a volunteer coordinator assistant to Leisa Bright, whom I interviewed when I was there. During my 5 days of volunteer work with endangered koalas I could learn so much from Kylie and her team of volunteers. In total a team of 95 wildlife volunteers, motly locals, who came in every day and helped with the care of sick and injured australian animals.
On this page I want to share with you what I have learnt from my wildlife volunteer experience. You will read bout the threats Koalas are undergoing and what can be done to help save them. You will read about the ways of protecting koalas from accidents and injuries as well as supporting the conservation of their natural habitat.
8 Koalas Facts
- Koalas from Queensland are different from southern Koalas, in Victoria and South Australia. Northern Koalas are grey short haired and only eat special types of Gum Trees Leaves.
- Koalas from southern australia have thick brown hair, here below you can see two koala spictures on the left hand side a koala from Queensland and on the right hand side a koala from the Great Ocean Road, so that you can see the difference.
- Southern and Northern Koalas are not allowed to breeding together, since they are different.
- Some Koalas only eat Blue Gum Tree Leaves or from specific Gums, Koalas also eat Malaleuca or Casuarina Gum Trees when they are sick.
- Koalas from Queensland are endangered because of many threats such as:
diseases like chlamydia, conjunctivitis, cystitis and more diseases
- In 8-10 years it is estimated that the number of Koalas will drop dramatically, this will lead to the koala extinction. 47% of koalas died between 2002-2008 in the Beerwah area.
- At present 43,000 koalas are estimated to be in Australia.
- The Koala is a faunal emblem and can be regarded as a flagship species, i.e. if we can save the habitat for koalas, we can automatically save the habitat for the rest of many more australian animals and insects.
How to save endangered Koalas
At the Wildlife Hospital I met Kylie, a volunteer coordinator and Vanda, the first volunteer of the Wildlife Hospital in Beerwah. Let’s see what Kylie and Vanda suggest for help saving endangered koalas.
Kylie has been working at the Wildlife Hospital for over a year as a volunteer coordinator. She works together with 95 volunteers and in cooperation with the medical staff, nursers and vets. When I asked Kylie what’s the most challenging part of working as a wildlife volunteer she says: “once koalas are rescued and treated they have to be brought back to the same place where they have come from, this is what the law says, this means that after a while the same koala is coming back again injured by a car or by a dog attack”. And when I asked her, what is the most rewarding aspect of her work as a volunteer at the Wildlife Hospital, she replied: “seeing the animals recovering and being released to the wild”.
Vanda is a veteran volunteer who has been working as a koala rescuer for over 20 years, since 2004 is being working as a regular volunteer at the Wildlife Hospital. Vanda furthermore belongs to several environmental organizations with the goal of increasing awareness about the koalas. Apparently only 10% of Australians are involved with wildlife conservation. To my question: what is the main reason for this poor response, she says: “This is due to lack of education and lack of information, many people simply do not know anything about the dangers koalas are exposed to“.
Vanda highlights again what can be done to help save the koalas, here a list of effective ways:
- retain bushland, no more clearing of forests to preserve the natural habitat for koalas
- do more planting to build tunnels for koalas to move and prevent being injured
- reduce speed at night near koalas areas to prevent car accidents
- restrain dogs and cats to attack koalas
- increase people’s awareness and response to the koalas conservation by donating or by joining the wildlife adoptation program.
If you want to learn more about the Wildlife Warrior Volunteer Program you can read my interview with Leisa Bright who heads the volunteers coordination at the Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital, in Beerwah north of Brisbane.