Friday, 23 February 2007

It's the quiet ones you worry about

...being a fruitcake koala means being a real koala -- not tame and used to human contact.

Siren Gem
From koalawrangler's gallery.
It seems that joey Siren Gem is learning bad habits from the older the koalas. I caught him trying to "nose" his way out of his yard on Friday. Maybe he's lonely without that reprobate Woody. Who knows, maybe he's developed Stockholm Syndrome and actually misses him.

Today I'm in the aviaries again. It's a bit deflating having to face Ellenborough Nancy again as she can be difficult to manoeuvre around. Andrea, one of the researchers from Sydney Uni, offers to bag her while I muck out her aviary. I tell her I'll try to manage with her there, but if she pulls any other ninja towel stunts, she's outa there!

I start with Oceanview Terry. He's managed to tip out all the leaf from one pot. I examine it and it seems to comprise mainly slender branches. I set out to prepare him a huge lush set of leaves this morning. Andrea comes through with a bag. She's taking Oxley Jo off to take some blood. I pounce on the opportunity to clean out her aviary sans koala. It's MUCH easier to clean an aviary/unit when there's no koala there; it's so much less stressful for them. Oh, and me.

Lookout Harry's aviary is easy-going; I learned from yesterday that he just needs a bit of leaf to amuse him. Then he lets you go about your business.

I dread finishing the other three: it means Nancy's next. What I really dislike about it, is the feeling that she has an aversion to me. Of course, such a thing isn't possible, but it's hard not to take things personally (like when she swipes at you). I confide in Peter that I really think Nancy doesn't like me; he jokes that Nancy doesn't like anybody. She's made more than one person bleed before. That makes me feel better. Being as wild as Nancy is means that she's as real as a koala gets -- not tame and used to human contact like many of the koalas around Port who've gotten used to people.

When I enter her unit, Nancy's sitting quietly in among her leaf. She is so quiet, it's eerie. I clean her aviary without a sound or a movement from her. It's not a good sign when feral koalas go quiet. It's better when they're a bit loco; it means they haven't given up the fight.

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