Offering a helping hand to tree-bound koala rescues
As a member of the Ipswich Koala Protection Society, Peter Luker, Supervisor at the Wolston Correctional Centre, dedicates his spare time to assisting injured and sick koalas.
Peter says the Society offers rescue, recovery and rehabilitation support of native wildlife and works closely with the Department of Environment and Science Moggill Koala Rehabilitation Centre.
“Koalas have recently been added to the endangered list, due to habitat destruction and associated issues.”
“We work directly with city councils to assist in surveys and rehabilitation plans.”
The Society conducts a lot of koala rescues in the area from Ipswich out as far as Esk, up to Toowoomba and beyond and out to Boonah, Beaudesert and down to the Jimboomba area.
“The main causes of injury are from car strikes and dog attacks and illnesses such as cystitis and conjunctivitis caused by environmental stress,” Peter said.
At the time of rescue, many of the koalas are perched way up in the trees, which makes the recovery process challenging.
“To ensure we get the koalas to hospital as quickly as possible, we have enlisted the help of the Arthur Gorrie Correctional Centre, where prisoners have made ‘safe drop door traps’.
These traps (pictured below), are placed around the tree where the koala is located so when they are ready to come down, they walk safely into the trap and a small door automatically closes behind them. Peter said this safe, humane method of capturing koalas is already proving beneficial.
“Rescue efforts have improved by 50% over the past 12 months for tree-bound koalas and more traps are already in production due to the success and functionality this method of capture entails.”
Peter said thanks to the kindness of volunteers at Arthur Gorrie, they have saved the group thousands of dollars and with the additional traps recently handed over, they can expand the location and carer numbers, with traps heading to Mackay, Townsville, and Magnetic Island.
The group are currently using a parcel of land around the Borallon Training and Correctional Centre for the safe release and rehab of koalas, possums, kangaroos and wallabies. They conduct pre-release surveys to assess the existing population, ensuring there is no risk of overpopulation and resource depletion. Once this assessment occurs, they can then release the animals back into the wild and monitor other native wildlife that may be suitable for rescue and rehabilitation into the area.
and sick koalas.