A rescued orphaned koala joey is one of countless native animals rescuers expect will need urgent care amid the flooding catastrophe in New South Wales and Queensland.
The 14-month-old male koala, named Gulliver, was rescued amid the torrential downpours in Tregeagle in the NSW Northern Rivers region on February 28.
The joey was found walking on the ground alone, calling for his mum, who sadly couldn’t be found. Gulliver evaded capture while he was on the ground forcing Friends of the Koala rescuers to set a trap to rescue him before more torrential rain fell.
Once the trap was set, Gulliver began climbing down the tree and was safely captured so he could be taken to Friends of the Koala which works closely with the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) to rescue, rehabilitate and release koalas in the region.
Because of his young age, Gulliver was put into home care with an experienced koala carer and was assessed by IFAW sponsored vet Dr. Jodie Wakeman.
“Gulliver isn’t suffering from any underlying health issues, but he isn’t out of the woods yet. As he is only a joey, he will be in care at koala kindy until he is old enough to be hopefully released back out to the wild,” said Dr. Wakeman.
IFAW Animal Rescue Program Officer Nicole Rojas-Marin said during such extreme weather events, it’s common for animals including koala mums to abandon or lose their joeys as an act of survival.
“Gulliver is very lucky that he was rescued when he was – with floodwaters rising, he could have ended up in a far worse situation,” Ms Rojas-Marin said.
“This flooding disaster is going to be catastrophic for our wildlife. We won’t know the true extent until floodwaters subside but as they recede we expect to see an influx of orphaned, injured and displaced animals needing care.”
Friends of the Kola urge members of the public to contact their 24hr Rescue Hotline on 6622 1233 if they see a koala in need of assistance in the Northern Rivers. Alternatively, people across NSW can help by downloading and using the free IFAW Wildlife Rescue App which connects people to the nearest wildlife rescue group or carer to get immediate help for injured, displaced or orphaned wildlife.