Koala (Phascolarctos cinereus) in a tree

28 Sept 2018


A young koala from Sydney’s south west has been saved from a painful death following complicated surgery, but the species’ future in New South Wales appears dire without major change, according to a report by WWF-Australia.

When the three-year-old male koala was hit by a car near Campbelltown, the impact smashed his shoulder blade and it disconnected from the collar bone.

He’s been named Lomond after being found on Ben Lomond Rd in Minto.

Such an injury would have made it impossible for the young koala to climb trees to feed or escape dogs.

Lomond received emergency surgery at Sydney University’s Avian & Exotic Pet Hospital. The hospital’s Director, Dr Lorenzo Crosta, said there is now hope for Lomond.

“A koala is a climber and must have arms that function perfectly. This is a major trauma because it’s a deep bone it’s difficult to reach it’s not something you can easily take care of, but the surgery was a success,” Dr Crosta said. 

Lomond was driven to a carer by WIRES Koala Coordinator Tracey Maquire who said the species is under immense pressure west of Sydney.  

“This one is lucky, nine times out of 10 we don’t actually pick up injured animals we actually bring deceased bodies to the University,” said Ms Maquire.

“We don’t have enough corridors for them due to the loss of habitat. If they’re not getting hit by cars, then they are coming into people’s backyards and they’re being attacked by dogs," she said.

At Croppa Creek in NSW’s north west, koalas like Fiona are also in trouble. Fiona was savaged by a dog, lost an eye, before being nursed back to health by carer Alaine Anderson.

But after her release, Fiona contracted chlamydia and made her own way back to Alaine. Alaine, who is also a farmer, says stress from a lack of trees and the drought makes koalas more susceptible to chlamydia.

“We think there’s a future for koalas if we can learn to be productive and protect the environment. We can be farmers and have this privilege (of koalas) as well,” she said.

But major change is required for koalas to have a future in NSW according to a report released today by WWF-Australia.

It says koalas are on track to face extinction in NSW as early as 2050 based on current trends and expert knowledge, without a significant reduction in tree clearing, mitigation of climate change and major expansion of protected areas.

“We’re seeing an increase in koalas being hit by cars, but this doesn’t mean there are more koalas in the wild. Instead, it shows that there aren’t enough trees out there for the koalas that manage to survive the bulldozing of their homes,” said WWF-Australia conservationist Stuart Blanch. 

“The State Government’s so-called Koala Strategy does nothing to stop rampant habitat loss throughout the state. It is designed to make the NSW government appear to be doing something to save koalas, when in fact they are driving koalas to extinction by removing protections.”

“We urge the NSW Government to reinstate laws to protect koala habitats before it is too late. Already koalas have vanished from many areas within NSW and at this rate they will never return.”