A koala that lets a person get close is a koala in need of help.
That’s the message from Warriors 4 Wildlife after they caught up with an unwell male koala in Upper Ferntree Gully on Monday 13 May.
Rescuers had been trying to capture him for a couple of months as they knew he’d been sick.
They caught him and took him to Happy Tails Vet to see Jason, who specialised in koalas on Raymond Island.
The furry marsupial was an older male who was underweight, dehydrated, going blind and with early kidney failure.
“With that diagnosis the best thing was to not let him suffer and put him to sleep,” Warriors 4 Wildlife said.
“If you ever come across a koala that allows you to get close or even to play with it, please call a wildlife shelter as there is something wrong.”
The group also warned against giving water to a koala in a bottle, as it can go into their lungs and cause infection.
Place the water in a bowl so they can drink out of it.
“Many years ago koalas were relocated to the Dandenong Ranges in the late 1980s and 1990s from Churchill Island, near Phillip Island, and small breeding populations were established,” Warriors 4 Wildlife said.
“Even though they are rare to find in this area there have been known sightings.
“Whilst it’s exciting to know there is a small population of koalas in the Dandenong Ranges, this story is a sad one.
“If you find a wild animal in a place that seems out of place to you and the animal lets you near it, there is every chance the animal is unwell and needs help.”
The group warned against touching it, picking up the animal or trying to feed it.
“Call a rescuer or carer immediately and report the sighting so they can help it,” the group said.
Call Warriors 4 Wildlife on 0401 811 937 or Wildlife Victoria on 8400 7300.