Girl, 12, praised for sav­ing koala or­phan

‘Speed would have been a ma­jor con­trib­u­tor’

The Gympie Times - - NEWS - ROSE ASTLEY If you see a koala in need of med­i­cal at­ten­tion, phone Gympie ANARRA Wildlife on 5484 9111, the RSPCA on 1300ANIMAL(1300264625) or Ms Daly on 0437 549 252.

A KANDANGA girl who spot­ted an or­phaned koala joey af­ter its mother was killed by a car on Kandanga Creek Rd did the right thing by run­ning home to tell her mother, who con­tacted a wildlife res­cue or­gan­i­sa­tion.

Joalah Coyle, 12, spot­ted the joey when she stepped off her school bus late last month.

“I got off the bus, and I thought I’d look up the tree (for the koala), and I didn’t see it at first, but then I looked again and I saw her sit­ting in the tree,” Joalah said.

“It was im­por­tant that I told some­one be­cause koalas are kind of en­dan­gered, and the baby was a big deal.”

Koala Ac­tion Gympie co-or­di­na­tor Michelle Daly said car­ers were con­cerned for the wel­fare of the joey, which would not have sur­vived with­out Joalah’s help.

The RSPCA con­firmed the or­phan, now named Linny, to be a healthy one-year-old, weigh­ing in at 2kg.

Ms Daly said the death of the joey’s mother was a pre­ventable loss.

“Speed would have been a ma­jor con­trib­u­tor,” she said.

“We rarely hear from the per­son whose ve­hi­cle hit the koala; it is usu­ally oth­ers who find it dead or in­jured who con­tact (us).

“We ask the pub­lic to fol­low th­ese sim­ple guide­lines: stop when safe, call for help and check the pouch for the joey.”

Ms Daly was urg­ing drivers to be vig­i­lant in “hot spot” areas such as the Mary Val­ley High­way, Kia Ora and the Tin Can Bay Rd.

The num­ber of dead and in­jured koalas had reached a “cat­a­strophic” level in the Gympie re­gion, she said.

Ten koalas have been killed on our roads since the breed­ing sea­son started in mid-July.

The re­ported num­ber of koalas killed by dog at­tacks this sea­son is four.

“On a pos­i­tive note, there is grow­ing pub­lic aware­ness of re­port­ing sight­ings and im­pacts on koalas,” Ms Daly said.

“It re­ally is help­ing to get a pic­ture of our koala pop­u­la­tions and what we can do to help,” she said.

Photo: Troy Jegers

ON LOOK­OUT: Joalah Coyle, 12, helped res­cue a koala joey last month.

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