Sunday, 25 February 2007

Setting a koala trap

Just then Barb announces that three new koalas are being brought in: one motor vehicle accident and two wet bottoms. She asks me to set up three new units in ICU, which fills ICU to capacity.

Koala trap
From koalawrangler's gallery.
It's the Sunday shift and I'm assiged the aviaries...that is until Peter realises I've done the aviaries two shifts running and might just be suffering aviary burnout. He gives me yard 10 instead. I head off there and am shortly joined by Beatrice, a volunteer I haven't met before. I recognise her name though. She's the one who witnessed the Bellevue Bill making his way into Links Lorna's boudoir one evening. Bill, by the way, had been re-released to a smaller yard in yard 10. He promptly knocked over his umbrella, scaled the wall and headed north up the nearest tree in the main part of yard 10. Currently, he and Tractive Golfer are up adjacent trees. The umbrellas are designed for shelter, but some koalas have other plans for them. It's a matter of determining which koalas will use them for the former and which for the latter.

Beatrice and I carry on in yard 10. We had to wait until one of the vets came to check the leaf and poop and take poop samples, so we start on the non-research koalas: Ocean Therese and Tractive Golfer. Both are high up their respective trees so neither can be fed yet. I'm sorting out Golfer's recycle and Beatrice is on Therese's leaf. We split the remaining sub-yards between us: I've got Macquarie Peter and Warrego Martin, my two favourite boys; while Beatrice has Links Lorna and Tozer Tom. We finish here quickly, which is good, since Beatrice has to go out on a rescue. One of the smaller yards in yard 10 has to be set up for Oxley Jo to move into; Jim says he'll look after that.

Warrego Martin
Warrego Martin
From koalawrangler's gallery.
I head into ICU where Ian is still working on the time-consuming wet-bottom side. I see that Oxley Westi's unit still needs to be cleaned so I set about doing that. Just then Barb announces that three new koalas are being brought in: one motor vehicle accident and two wet bottoms. She asks me to set up three new units in ICU, which fills ICU to capacity.

There is already a koala in the ICU treatment room, sealed in a rescue basket. I get moving cutting new leaf, filling water bowls and dirt containers, laying newspaper. They bring in the motor vehicle accident victim, Melaleuca Alfie. He is an amazingly calm koala. He sits on the treatment table without a bag or any kind of restraint, sipping the fluid Peter syringes into his mouth. When I enter the room to take a photo, he turns his head and follows me with his eyes. What an adorable, trusting fellow. It turns that his genitals were injured in the car accident. He may have trouble urinating.

Melaleuca Alfie
Melaleuca Alfie
From koalawrangler's gallery.
I'm finishing the new units when I see another koala in the treatment room. This one is named Cattlebrook John. He was found sitting on the ground, listless and unmoving. It's not certain what has caused his lethargy. He's still nestled in his rescue basket, sort of lounging back into it. When Andrea tries to examine him closer, he ducks out from under her. He doesn't want to move but he doesn't want to be touched either. When they put him in his unit, the leaf pots are moved to the floor and he stays in the basket.

I run into Lorna in the dayroom. She hands me my name badge which was on order and has now arrived. Now I'm official and the koalas will be able to call me by name :)

Click here to view more of today's koala hospital photos.