Panels put to good use

By Country News

Eight koalas recovering from illness will soon have new homes, thanks to the Fonterra Stanhope team.

The Stanhope factory, which is undergoing an expansion of its cheese plant, has donated leftover materials to a Koonoomoo volunteer organisation to help build shelters as part of its Koala Rescue Project.

Dutch Thunder Wildlife Shelter has been looking after native fauna for six years, and the Koala Rescue Project helps to reduce the threat to the local koala population from sarcoptic mange, by building quarantine shelters for infected koalas.

Fonterra’s Stanhope site manager Jason Wright said the site had been a hive of activity for more than 12 months, with a 200-strong team of contractors making sure the site is on track to double its cheese processing capability next year.

‘‘With an expansion of this size and the amount of equipment being used, there is always the potential for a lot of waste,’’ Mr Wright said.

‘‘We’re really focused on reducing waste where possible, so when the Dutch Thunder Wildlife Shelter approached us for any recycled materials to help build shelters at their centre, we leapt at the opportunity.

‘‘For example, there was around 200m of panel left over from our temporary coolroom.

‘‘These panels are fully insulated and will form a great base for the shelters.’’

James Leonard, from Dutch Thunder Wildlife Shelter, said during the past few years there had been a huge increase in the number of koalas dying in the local area — mainly from sarcoptic mange.

‘‘We’ve had over 100 koalas infected in the last 12 months — that’s an average of one every four days,’’ Mr Leonard said.

■If you wish to get involved in the project, or know of anyone who may be able to assist, email: