Four Paws the koala is recovering well after her rescue from the Cudlee Creek fires grounds in late December.
Found by an Adelaide Zoo Keeper who also volunteers for the CFS, Four Paws was taken in by the Adelaide Zoo’s Animal Health Centre.
Zoos SA Veterinarian Sarah Alexander says Four Paws’ burns are improving and she ideally won’t need many more treatments.
“We usually change the dressings every three days depending on the severity of the wounds, but Four Paws is close to having all her bandages removed,” says Alexander. “She’s making amazing progress.”
Four Paws has been joined by another koala, Two Paws, who is also well on the way to recovery.
As well as caring for the current koala pair, Adelaide Zoo is in contact with other wildlife and emergency care facilities to offer support and wildlife veterinary assistance.
The zoo is able to take in another fifteen koalas, whether it be for emergency veterinary attention or to house the animals safely until their wild release. The hope is that this will provide some respite to those who have been caring for the injured animals over the last few weeks.
The Animal Health Centre is also caring for a young Ringtail Possum known as Mittens who was found in the Cudlee Creek fire aftermath, with the same keeper having brought her in for treatment.
“When Mittens arrived, she had badly burnt foot pads, burnt fur and singed ears and whiskers,” says Alexander. “She’s doing incredibly well and is now pretty much fully healed. We’re amazed by her strength. For such a young animal to survive such intense heat is truly remarkable.”
Once the animals have been given a clean bill of health by the vets, it is hoped they will be able to return safely to the wild.
The return of these animals to their natural habitat is crucial for local wildlife populations that have suffered greatly since the fires began.
A recent statement by the World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF) estimates that over 1.25 billion animals have been lost in the tragedy.
“What we’re seeing in Australia at the moment is horrific, but it’s heart-warming to know so many people are coming together to support local wildlife,” says Alexander. “This is especially important as the effects of climate change on weather patterns, drought and fire around the country mean we’ll see more wildlife in need in the future.”
Accredited zoos around the world are collaborating to launch a Wildlife Conservation Fund, which will raise funds for both emergency relief efforts and long-term crisis action on the ground.
Tax-deductible donations can be made to the ZAA’s Wildlife Conservation Fund.