Friends of the Koala are deeply saddened to announce the passing of Triumph, the much-loved koala who was born with only 3 feet.
Triumph first arrived at Friends of the Koala in 2017 as an orphaned 10-month-old joey. Given his congenital birth defect he was unable to be released and was hand raised by IFAW sponsored Vet Nurse, Marley Christian. Triumph rose to fame internationally after he became the first koala to receive a prosthetic foot. Marley searched the globe for one to help Triumph move better before finding a solution close to home through Lismore dental prosthetist Jon Doulman.
“Over the past six weeks, our IFAW sponsored vet team noticed a marked change in his weight, demeanour and behaviour” said President, Susannah Keogh.
Triumph, who is 5 years old, initially underwent two full health assessments under general anaesthetic however, no abnormalities were discovered, and all tests returned normal results. Despite altering Triumph’s treatment plan, his weight and demeanour continued to decline. After consulting several koala specialists, Superintendent Vet, Jackie Reed conducted a third health assessment. This time, pathology tests revealed Triumph’s health had been in decline due to cancer. He also was found to have active koala retrovirus which reduces immune function making him more susceptible to cancer.
“We are absolutely devasted by the loss of Triumph,” said Ms Keogh. “Unfortunately, there were no viable treatment options and our vet team made the sad but humane decision to euthanase him”.
Triumph enjoyed a rich life at Friends of the Koala and was doated on daily by his human mum and volunteers. Most significantly, Triumph became a global ambassador for his threatened species and shined a light on the work of Friends of the Koala, inspiring many people across the world to take action in conserving koalas and their habitat.
“Just as the Friends of the Koala family are mourning, we understand that Triumph held a special place in the hearts of the community,” said Ms Keogh. “The outpouring of support that we have received from the community has been incredible. I know everyone joins us in our sense of loss, and that helps our team get through these difficult times. However, we ask that people also give us the time and space to look after our staff and volunteers as they grieve the loss of Triumph”.