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Lupita Leaves the Nest

Lupita came into care in November 2020, when she was only 10 months old. She was found alone on the ground, in Tomewin in the Tweed Shire, covered in ticks and blood. The owner of the property called our Rescue Hotline and Lupita, due to her proximity, was taken to Currumbin Wildlife Hospital for a thorough health assessment.

Lupita was very sick – she was flat, unresponsive, and chronically anaemic due to the tick infestation and required an immediate blood transfusion. The ticks were removed and her wounds flushed and treated. She also received IV fluid therapy and pain relief, then was transported back to Friends of the Koala.

She was placed into Koala Kindy and buddied up with a similar aged joey. Whilst she was shy when she first arrived, she quickly relaxed into care, eventually play fighting and foraging with the other joeys.

During her next routine health check, our IFAW Sponsored Vet team found maggots in her ear canal, most probably laid by flies attracted by blood from the tick infestation. Vets were concerned she may have sustained hearing damage due to the maggots found in her ear canal so monitored her closely. Her weight, scats, appetite, activity, hydration and demeanour were also carefully monitored.

After a couple of months in Koala Kindy, Lupita began the next stage of her rehabilitation and was transferred to a plantation kindy. A plantation kindy is a fenced area, that allows young koalas to practice their climbing skills, eat leaf from a real tree and experience all types of weather for the first time. As the transport cage opened, Lupita immediately bolted up a tree and began foraging soon after – a great sign!

After a couple of weeks in plantation kindy, Lupita returned to Friends of the Koala for a thorough health assessment. While Lupita did not lose significant weight, she was suffering from some gut issues which required close monitoring.

Fast forward to May 2021 and Lupita was ready for release! As she was found in the Tweed, Friends of the Koala worked closely with Tweed Shire Council and its network of Private Land Conservation landholders to find safe, suitable habitat for her soft release. The perfect tallowwood was found on the edge of bushland for Lupita to stay and start getting acquainted with the sounds, smells and locals at her new home. The landholder and volunteers supplied fresh local leaf and water daily, and monitored her closely. When it was time for the fence to be removed Lupita was ready to go and couldn’t wait to start exploring the nearby trees. Lupita was released on private property near where she was found but far away from roads and suburbia.