WRITE OFF: One of the Sunshine Coast's koala warriors Ray and Murray Chambers' rescue vehicles has been smashed beyond repair.
WRITE OFF: One of the Sunshine Coast's koala warriors Ray and Murray Chambers' rescue vehicles has been smashed beyond repair. Contributed

Koala recue heroes grounded after crash

THE Coast's own koala-rescuing heroes have had their efforts cut in half since one of their specially fitted-out koala rescue vehicles was written off.

Ray Chambers was on his way to rescue a koala in need in bushland near Toowoomba when he swerved to avoid another car and lost control of one of the pair's two "koala ambulances", writing it off and leaving the brothers with just one Koala Rescue Queensland truck.

Murray Chambers said the pair had not been able to get to all of the sick and injured koalas they had received calls to since the crash in December.

"We can't do as many rescues," he said.

"If I don't get a call and Ray gets a call I let Ray take my truck, but there has been a couple of times we've been stuck so..."

A Brisbane-based koala rescuer has been able to lend a vehicle when needed, but it has not been able to accommodate the specialist equipment the pair needs to perform complex rescues up trees.

The past couple of months have been a struggle for the brothers, who have dedicated the past 10 years of their lives - and most of their own income - to helping sick and injured wildlife on the Sunshine Coast and across much of southern Queensland.

"We always seem to struggle in our little group," Murray said.

"We seem to get on top and then get kicked in the guts."

The wrecked ute had clocked up 150,000km doing rescues and releases in the four years Ray and Murray had it, and Murray said because of the high number of kilometres on the odometer the insurance payout would not be enough to cover a replacement truck.

A Gofundme page was started in January to raise funds for a new vehicle, which the brothers expect to cost about $40,000, but so far has not received nearly as much support as Murray had hoped it would.

"When we started this 10 years ago we didn't realise it would be such a struggle trying to save Australian wildlife, but you've got to keep the fight going until there's none left," he said.

With ongoing expenses like fuel, insurance and equipment replacement to also cover, Murray said he and Ray continued to pour most of the income from their Moffat Beach mechanic business into the rescue charity, and without support from the public, would likely have to take out a personal loan to replace the wrecked vehicle.

Visit http://bit.ly/2n5IPRt to donate.


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