A delightful wildlife encounter at Strathmerton has had a sad ending.
Strathmerton farm owners Kellie Bilston and BJ Payne welcomed a wild friend down from the peppercorn trees recently 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 dubbed Blinky Bill — kept coming back and seemed thirsty, she said she began to get concerned and rang a wildlife refuge.
She said her King Charles cavalier spaniels Bobo and Bear were very interested in their new friend, and responded well to her curiosity.
Unfortunately the wildlife refuge has reported that Blinky died about a week ago.
‘‘I’d like to think we gave her a chance of living, offering the water to her and contacting wildlife rescuers,’’ Ms Bilston said.
‘‘If we had left her alone totally she would have died possibly earlier.’’
She urged rural people to keep an eye out for wildlife suffering from the heat and if they had a sick animal to contact a wildlife refuge immediately.
Wildlife rescuers advise not to offer water to a koala from a bottle because water ingested at an angle could get into its lungs; rather, it was better to pour water into a bowl or flat dish, or even to hose down a tree so the koala could get some relief from the droplets.