Wildthing and Tattersall Lander, in conjunction with Port Stephens Koalas assisted in a number of koala rescues following the devastating fires in Salamander Bay recently. The area is known to have a significant koala population that has been heavily impacted as a result of the fire. All of the animals rescued will require ongoing treatment, with the injuries sustained ranging from mild abrasions to severe burns trauma.

Once the blaze was brought under control and the NSW RFS determined it was safe to enter the fire ground, carers from Port Stephens Koalas along with Wildthing and Tattersall Lander’s ecologists and arborists went in to survey the damage, and rescue any injured animals. It wasn’t long before a very distressed koala was noticed clinging desperately to a tree. From the ground it was obvious the animal was suffering with burns, but the full extent of the injuries would not be known until they could make a proper assessment.

Tattersall Lander Level 5 Arborist, Ben Folbigg was set the precarious task of securing the wounded koalas, while at the same time ensuring no further injuries were sustained. It required Ben to climb skillfully into a high section of the tree and maintain a safe climbing position. Then, using a long pole, he had to guide the koalas back down the tree trunk to the ground, where they were swiftly collected by the carers and placed into transportable containers lined with soft towels and blankets. From there they were taken back to Port Stephens Koalas rescue centre for treatment and monitoring.

The injuries suffered by the koalas recovered at the site ranged from minor cuts, abrasions and burns, to more serious trauma which will take many months of treatment before they ready to be reintroduced to the wild. The burns sustained by the animals were as a consequence of climbing still hot burnt trees, in an attempt to escape the fire.

If not for the selfless acts of kindness to capture the injured koalas they would have almost certainly died. Our staff members put aside their work commitments (with the full support of Tattersall Lander leaders) at a very busy time of year, to generously lend a hand in rescuing the injured animals. Tattersall Lander and Wildthing are very proud of all of the efforts of our staff members in this successful operation, and hope that the koalas make a full recovery.

To report koala rescues in the Port Stephens area contact Port Stephens Koalas on 1800 775 625 (1800 PS KOALAS).