Koala res­cuers save eight

The Riverine Herald - - LOCAL CLASSIES -

EIGHT koalas — all re­cov­er­ing from ill­ness — will soon be re­lo­cated to new homes, thanks to the Fon­terra Stan­hope team.

The Stan­hope fac­tory, which is un­der­go­ing an ex­pan­sion of its cheese plant, has do­nated left­over ma­te­ri­als to a Koonoomoo vol­un­teer or­gan­i­sa­tion to help build shel­ters as part of its Koala Res­cue Project.

Dutch Thun­der Wildlife Shel­ter has been look­ing af­ter na­tive fauna for six years, and the Koala Res­cue Project helps to re­duce the threat to the lo­cal koala pop­u­la­tion from sar­cop­tic mange, by build­ing quar­an­tine shel­ters for in­fected koalas.

Fon­terra’s Stan­hope site man­ager Ja­son Wright said the site had been a hive of ac­tiv­ity for more than 12 months, with a 200-strong team of con­trac­tors mak­ing sure the site is on track to dou­ble its cheese pro­cess­ing ca­pa­bil­ity next year.

‘‘With an ex­pan­sion of this size and the amount of equip­ment be­ing used, there is al­ways the po­ten­tial for a lot of waste,’’ Mr Wright said.

‘‘We’re re­ally fo­cused on re­duc­ing waste where pos­si­ble, so when the Dutch Thun­der Wildlife Shel­ter ap­proached us for any re­cy­cled ma­te­ri­als to help build shel­ters at their cen­tre, we leapt at the op­por­tu­nity.

‘‘For ex­am­ple, there was around 200m of panel left over from our tem­po­rary cool­room.

‘‘These pan­els are fully in­su­lated and will form a great base for the shel­ters.’’

James Leonard, from Dutch Thun­der Wildlife Shel­ter, said dur­ing the past few years there had been a huge in­crease in the num­ber of koalas dy­ing in the lo­cal area — mainly from sar­cop­tic mange.

‘‘We’ve had over 100 koalas in­fected in the last 12 months — that’s an av­er­age of one ev­ery four days,’’ Mr Leonard said. ■ If you wish to get in­volved in the project, or know of any­one who may be able to as­sist, email dutchthun­der­wildlife@gmail.com

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