Fund­ing to help koalas

PROJECT PICKED AND WILL RE­CEIVE $176 913

Shepparton News - - NEWS - By Pa­trick Tansey

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.

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