Country News

Koala gets timely help

By Alana Christensen

Strathmerton farm owners Kellie Bilston and BJ Payne welcomed a wild friend down from the peppercorn trees last Tuesday after their dogs brought attention to a koala in need of water.

Acting quickly, Ms Bilston grabbed a bowl of water and held it up to the koala, relieving him of his thirst.

‘‘To my surprise, he certainly was thirsty and he was quite content when I gave it to him, even putting his paws into the bowl and at times held the bowl,’’ she said.

However, after the koala, which Ms Bilston has dubbed Blinky Bill kept coming back, she said she started to get concerned.

“We were worried about Blinky Bill because she keeps coming back and seems thirsty, so we rang a wildlife refuge," she said.

"They are looking after her and think she may have become dehydrated, so she is on a drip. They plan to bring her back once she’s recovered and release her.’’

She said her King Charles Cavaliers Bobo and Bear were very interested in their new friend.

‘‘My husband picked them up one at a time to say hello — neither the boys or the koala were upset with the meeting and neither were stressed or nasty,’’ Ms Bilston said.

Tips for helping wildlife during a heatwave

  1. Leave bowls of fresh, clean water out in shady locations. Shallow dishes are better for smaller animals. Place the container in an area where animals are protected from predators when drinking. Unless advised to by a registered wildlife carer or veterinarian, don’t attempt to feed wild animals.
  2. Animals stressed by the heat will often behave differently than normal. They may lose their balance, collapse or appear confused. Animals that are mainly active at night (e.g. possums) may come out during the day and animals that usually live in trees (e.g. flying foxes, birds) may be seen on the ground.
  3. If you do rescue an animal suffering from heat stress and dehydration, wrap it loosely in a towel place in a cardboard box and offer water to drink. Spraying with a fine mist of water can help to cool the animal down. Leave in a dark, cool and quiet place and seek advice and assistance.
  • To find an Australian wildlife rescue volunteer near you, visit the Australian Fauna Care Network at: fauna.org.au/