Funding to help koalas
PROJECT PICKED AND WILL RECEIVE $176 913
Pure elation was the natural emotion felt by Kylee Donkers after hearing the ‘Save our Koalas’ project had received Pick My Project funding.
Ms Donkers and her band of loyal volunteers at Koonoomoo’s KoonaWonga Wildlife Rescue have been out in force for months trying to bring the project to fruition through raising awareness of a plague which has seen the koala population struck down by scabies.
Hard work paid off, with 219 votes enough to see the project the only one selected within Moira Shire.
Mrs Donkers was thankful Help is on the way: for the leg work done by Louise Greenwood.
‘‘She has done the majority of the work. She’s been down at Woollies every day handing out flyers for people to vote for us, her family have done a power of work to make sure we were successful,’’ she said.
She also said the project would never have been successful if it was not for the community’s care and support.
‘‘We have to thank the community massively because we only got in by one vote, it was very lucky.’’
The project will receive $176 913 to deliver education around sick koalas as well as the means to hopefully rehabilitate them in the future.
KoonaWonga can now buy a display information trailer, which will be taken to markets and schools to help educate the community on the dangers being faced by koalas.
‘‘The biggest thing it is actually going to fund is the koala counts and a big koala festival which we’re hoping to run in town,’’ Mrs Donkers said.
Mrs Donkers said $30 000 still needed to be raised to help researchers to come to the area and study how scabies was affecting the koala population.
‘‘We are working really closely with institutions such as Melbourne University, Sydney University and Taronga Zoo’s infectious disease department, it’s not just us that is involved in the project,’’ she said.
Mrs Donkers said the problem had the potential to spread Australia-wide if not managed properly.
‘‘It’s not just isolated to this area, they’re having trouble with scabies down in Gippsland, Warrnambool, South Australia and NSW,’’ she said.
‘‘With this funding behind us, hopefully we can be bigger and better and raise those funds for researchers little bit quicker.’’
Mrs Donkers was unsure when and how the money would be distributed.
— Cobram Courier a
KoonaWonga Wildlife Rescue’s ‘Save our Koalas’ funding application was successful in Pick My Project. The project will receive $176 913 to help educate the community on the scabies epidemic which is killing many of our native koalas. Pictured is Dutch Thunder Wildlife Shelter owner Kylee Donkers.