Thursday, 17 May 2007

Raindrops keep fallin' on my koalas

A bit of a quiet shift today although we had a few new vollies. Amanda takes Keith to train and gets me to train Brooke up in yard 10. There are only three koalas there now: Tractive Golfer, Morrish Steven and Innes Tony. I go through the techie things like where's the best place to cut a branch fork, how to achieve the correct leaf length, where the poop goes to be sifted from leaf; that sort of thing.

While we're focusing on leaf lengths, Tractive sneaks down onto his gunyah and starts snuffling about in the leaf. I take Brooke over so that we can feed him his formula. He's a good boy and drinks it all up today. I give Brooke a go, but she's a bit nervous about getting the flow right.

Amanda and Keith come in and start to service Morrish Steven's yard so we start on Innes Tony. He's perched up high in his leaf, with one foot dangling. I can't resist taking a few snaps. It's a koala foot/hand fetish I've pick up from Emma. Their black leathery paw lining seems almost monkeylike, yet their hand shape is quite human. Their hands have five digits, like a human's, except they have two opposable thumbs and three other fingers, while their feet have four toes. I stroke Tony's little foot for a second; he doesn't seem to mind.

We take a break to wait for the leaf to arrive. Jo, the Sydney uni researcher, tells me what's been going on in the hospital for the last few days. They finally decided to euthanase Bellevue Bill; he had run the course of the uni drug trials but still his prognosis was poor, the Chlamydia infection having inflamed his bladder walls, making it difficult for him to urinate. I know it will sadden our most recent international vollies, Chris and Tracy, to hear it :( Bill's gentle ways had endeared him to many of us.

Walcha Barbie, the little one with the bandaged arm, was also put to rest. She'd gone dramatically downhill in a short time, so it was for the best. Jo also tells us about Hart Jumper who was brought in last night with a pronounced facial tumour which, incidentally, is NOT related to the facial tumour condition that has been decimating the Tasmanian Devil population. Upon further examination, it was revealed that this koala had other tumours as well so I'm glad the hospital was able to put an end to his suffering.

I take Brooke out to show her around the other yards. Links VTR, as if on queue, scampers adorably up a beam to his tree lookout and peers down at us. It's hard to believe, he went from this tiny little moppet:

Links VTR
Links VTR
From koalawrangler's gallery.

To this ├╝ber-cuddly specimen:

Links VTR
Links VTR
From koalawrangler's gallery.

The leaf's ready now, but it's started to rain. We bolt up to yard 10 with a bundle and I set about demonstrating how to produce two leaf pots from the raw branches of nicholii, tallowood and something-or-other gum that Chris has brought in today. It's raining heavily now so Vanessa, Paul and Jarrod come in to help finish off the yard. My koala smock is drenched through.

Before I head off, I pop into the aviaries to visit Oxley Jo. Jo the researcher has determined that her secondary infection is the Chlamydia returning. She made a mess of her unit last night, which is the same behaviour she demonstrated months ago at the height of her first infection. It could be a symptom of her discomfort. I'm quite convinced that for little Jo the best thing is for her to relieved of any more pain. I like to imagine that she will keep our O'Briens Fiona company up in the celestial gumtrees.

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