Brave koala mother ‘touch and go’

THE mother koala found shielding her baby from the devastating Gold Coast hinterland bushfires in a now-viral picture is surviving - just.

The brave koala was pictured in a now viral story sitting on top of her baby protectively, to shield him from the dangerous bushfire.

After being found by Jimboomba police officer David Ward on Friday, the koala was taken to RSPCA Wacol's wildlife hospital by Wildcare volunteers.

 

 

The brave mother koala and her joey rescued from the Gold Coast hinterland fire at Canungra. Picture: RSPCA Qld
The brave mother koala and her joey rescued from the Gold Coast hinterland fire at Canungra. Picture: RSPCA Qld

"The joey is doing okay, the mother is touch and go," RSPCA spokesman Michael Beatty said.

A second koala, a male, found afterwards was already very ill before being transferred to the campus's wildlife hospital. It's understood he didn't make it.

Mr Beatty said the hospital hadn't yet had a huge upswing in bushfire victims, but was expecting to see more in the coming days.

Those who find an injured animal are urged to call Wildcare on 5527 2444 or the RSPCA on 1300 ANIMAL.

A male koala being taken into care by Wildcare volunteers after the Gold Coast fires. Picture: Wildcare Australia
A male koala being taken into care by Wildcare volunteers after the Gold Coast fires. Picture: Wildcare Australia

Wildcare volunteer Tara Hunter said their Canungra Showground trauma base had helped at least half a dozen animals so far, including the koalas, a red-necked wallaby, a pale-headed rosella and even a water dragon.

Volunteers were currently limited in their ability to go into the field to find injured animals due to the ongoing danger of spot fires, she said.

"The pale-headed rosella was found with ash in her mouth, she was found on the ground," she said.

 

The mother koala protected her baby well. Picture: RSPCA Qld
The mother koala protected her baby well. Picture: RSPCA Qld

"The birds usually just fly away. Maybe she just got caught out."

She agreed that they would be getting busier in the coming days as the bushfires eased and more residents returned to their properties to find injured animals.

Dr Michael Pyne of the Currumbin Wildlife Hospital said one bandicoot and a sugar glider had been so far brought in to them. However, neither survived.

He expected more animals as well, but said it was likely many had perished in the fires.

"A positive spin is the Australian bushland is designed to have fire go through it and regenerate it. It will spring back to life in better condition post-fire."

Those who find an injured animal are urged to call Wildcare on 5527 2444 or the RSPCA on 1300 ANIMAL.

A swamp wallaby taken in by Wildcare to the RSPCA during the fires. Picture: RSPCA Qld
A swamp wallaby taken in by Wildcare to the RSPCA during the fires. Picture: RSPCA Qld

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