Koala released following fighting injury

The Department of Environment and Science has released a male koala into bushland at the Gold Coast after he was injured near David Fleays Wildlife Park.

The department’s koala veterinarian Dr Stephanie Shaw said it’s believed the koala was fighting with another male when he fell from a tree in front of people in the park.

“Thankfully he was able to receive immediate care by wildlife officers at Fleays who then took him to Currumbin Wildlife Hospital for assessment,” Dr Shaw.

“Staff at Currumbin Wildlife Hospital named him Ronnie Neemo, and he was found to have a deep wound and nerve damage to his right arm and hand and stayed with them for two weeks until he was ready to start his rehab.

“He was then taken to the department’s Moggill koala rehabilitation centre on August 9 where he received care for his wounds and underwent physiotherapy and rehab until the nerve damage resolved and he could climb large trees again.

“When he was ready, he was placed into an enclosure called the ‘plantation’ which is a bunch of eucalypts surrounded by a fence.

“He had to prove to me that he could climb, and when he was able to do that, I was able to arrange for him to be released.”

Dr Shaw said in late September, the koala was placed in a cage and taken back to bushland near Fleays and released.

“As soon as the cage was open, he didn’t waste any time and clambered up the tree, showing no signs of his injury,” she said.

“It’s always an absolute thrill to see any koala we have cared for get released into the wild, and hopefully he will stick to the trees in the bushland and not lose his grip.

“I’d like to thank the staff at Fleays, and everyone associated with the SEQ Wildlife Hospital Network for the hard work they do.

“This includes Australia Zoo, Currumbin Wildlife Hospital, the RSPCA and the staff at the department’s dedicated koala rehabilitation centre at Moggill.

“Each institution does outstanding work and in 2020, the SEQ Wildlife Hospital Network successfully released 563 koalas, which is an extraordinary effort.

“At Moggill, we focus on koala rehabilitation and research to improve our knowledge and skills around koala rescue, care, rehabilitation and release.

“We have highly skilled staff and a recently upgraded facility, which includes the ‘plantation’ enclosures where koalas are “re-wilded” and build up their physical fitness prior to release.

“I’d also like to acknowledge the dedicated army of volunteer carers and care groups around the southeast who provide a vital service.”

People can report sick, injured or orphaned koalas to the department by calling 1300 130 372.

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