Monty becomes first patient at new koala facility in Hawkesbury

One of our Upper Colo residents has relocated to a new home in Richmond and things are looking up.

Monty Colo, a laidback koala who was in a sad state when he was rescued by Colo resident Alice Voight, is now living at the new WIRES koala rehabilitation centre in Richmond. The facility has been built by the wildlife rescue group WIRES on the grounds of Western Sydney’s University Hawkesbury Campus.

Funded through the kindness of generous donations following the devastating 2019-20 bushfires, the new rehabilitation centre will ensure that koalas like Monty can get the urgent care they need.

Monty was diagnosed with chlamydia and he is suffering eye disease as a result, but with treatment including antibiotics and plenty of fresh gum leaves, the outlook for Monty is improving. There are no guarantees that koalas will survive treatment but WIRES is hopeful that Monty will respond well and he will get to go home back into his native habitat.

Besides eye disease, chlamydia is a disease that can cause bladder infections and infertility. A new vaccine is now being trialled in Queensland.

The new facility means that sick and injured koalas can get specialised treatment in the Hawkesbury area. While it is great news for any koalas in the Hawkesbury and Greater Western Sydney that they won’t need to be transported great distances from their natural habitat, koalas from anywhere can also be cared for at this new Hawkesbury facility.

WIRES CEO Leanne Taylor hopes it is the first of many koala rescue facilities.

“The new facility will allow wildlife rescuers to respond quickly whenever disaster strikes,” Ms Taylor said.

“The population of koalas in the Hawkesbury and the greater Blue Mountains area is significant, and now we have the capacity to house a number of koalas when we face future disasters.”

“We have to do what is necessary to save this species,” she said.

There are actions we can all take, individually and as a community, to reduce some of the major threats to koalas and keep them safe:

  • Keep dogs on leads
  • Help sick and injured koalas
  • Plant trees koalas can live in and eat*
  • Drive carefully
  • Report a koala sighting.

Hawkesbury City Council’s Community Bushcare Officer Martin Gauci went along to see Monty on his first day and to also check on how the native plants from Council’s Hawkesbury Community Nursery were growing at the new facility. Following advice from the Community Nursery, 11 White Flowering Bottlebrush and 11 Lemon-scented Tea-trees were planted adjacent to the koala rehabilitation facility to help screen and shade the enclosures from the Western sun to help keep koalas cool during their recovery.

Council’s Bushcare volunteers and the Hawkesbury Community Nursery have had a long association with assisting WIRES volunteers by restoring native habitat through bush regeneration. Some Bushcare volunteers are also WIRES volunteers, while the Community Nursery also provides the much-needed native shrubs for the homes of WIRES volunteers who look after koalas too. The Community Nursery will continue to stay in touch with the WIRES volunteers at the koala facility to provide expert advice on which native plants and trees are best for soil tolerance, screening, longevity and as a food source.

You can keep an eye out for our local koalas and report any sightings on the Koala App www.koala.nsw.gov.au/2019/08/26/new-koala-app-launchedi-spy-koala or report a Koala sighting through Science for Wildlife at www.scienceforwildlife.org/how-to-help/join-our-koala-project or via

Facebook on www.facebook.com/koalaspotters

Koalas are a threatened species in NSW but there are many ways you can help:

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