Friday, 13 March 2009

Koala Hospital koalawranglers return from Victorian mercy mission

They wanted to keep it low-key, just go down and get the job done without fanfare, but the news that four of our experienced Koala Hospital staff and volunteers heading off to help in the Victorian firegrounds and wildlife care facilities has hit NBN TV.

See Port Koala Carers Help Victoria [includes video interview].

Our team flies home to Port Macquarie this afternoon after 10 days of hard, heartbreaking work carrying out fireground searches for injured wildlife (all wildlife, by the way, not just koalas) and setting up triage for those animals recovered. When I approached Virgin Blue about whether they could help out with the flights to send our people down there, their response was simply "tell us what we can do". The airline funded the flights to and from Melbourne and were prepared to transport up to the Koala Hospital for treatment if it came to that.

Sam the Koala. From Daily Telegraph.
[I'm always amazed by how different Victorian koalas look to their NSW counterparts. Vic wahlees are larger and much fluffier.]

The small shelters in Victoria are still doing it tough. The Southern Ash Wildlife Shelter where carers like Colleen Wood are selflessly treating and caring for wildlife affected by these fires, including Sam the koala, are crying out for financial support. You can donate here:

See Wildlife shelter plea to help bushfire victim Sam the Koala [this story also includes the now famous footage of Sam the koala drinking water offered by a firefighter David Tree].

As for this article, I am not at all surprised that Sam's carers are refusing to let Tree see or be photographed with Sam. I know wildlife carers, and any wildlife carer worth their salt would not compromise the well-being of even one animal for personal or financial gain or an ounce of publicity.

The animal's care is paramount to them.

That's what makes them such special people.