Report reveals shocking death toll of local koalas
UP TO 279 rescued koalas were killed last year, a new report shows.
Friends of the Koala have released their annual report into the organisation's activities for the late 2018/2019 period.
According to president Ros Irwin, the organisation rescued 394 koalas across six local government areas, a number she said makes the 2018/2019 period the second busiest year on record since the organisation's establishment in 1984.
"This was partly due to the 'brown drought' we experienced across much of NSW, which has had a significant impact on koalas," she said.
"It may well be that koalas have reached the limit of their capacity to cope with extreme heat, and certainly, in early 2019 over a period of two weeks every koala we rescued was severely depleted and dehydrated, and when taken to the vet was euthanised."
The report, which records the numbers of koalas admitted to the East Lismore-based koala sanctuary, shows of 394 rescued koalas admitted to the hospital, 279 died or were euthanised from a number of causes including disease and injuries sustained from attacks.
According to Friends of the Koala data, the biggest killer of northern NSW koalas was disease, with 171 koala deaths directly caused by disease.
The next highest killer of koalas across the region was car strikes with 59 deaths, followed by unknown causes, claiming 20 lives.
Other reported causes of death include injuries caused by dog attacks and other suspected attacks, as well as death from habitat loss, parental abandonment, old age and other causes.
However while the number of dead koalas was high, the report shows 96 koalas recovered from their injuries and were released back into the wild, while a further 12 survived their injuries and remain in care.
Friends of the Koala care co-ordinator Susannah Keogh said the 2018/2019 period saw a "huge jump" in koalas being released.
"We have never had as high as 24 per cent in releases so our workers should be proud," she said.
"Reducing the stress at capture and during treatment can be a major factor in the success of a koala's time in care and I believe in conjunction with some of the new techniques and medications we are using under our vet's guidance, we are giving best practice care here at Friends of the Koala."
Friends of the Koala operates across the local government areas of Ballina, Byron, Kyogle, Lismore, Richmond Valley, Tweed and parts of the Clarence Valley and Tenterfield LGAs.
Friends of the Koala activity by LGA
Sighted: 36, Admitted: 19, Released: 3, In Care: 0, Deaths: 16 - Disease (6), Car strike (5), Habitat loss (2), Attack suspected (1), Other (1), Unknown (1)
Sighted: 250, Admitted: 77, Released: 16, In Care: 1, Deaths: 60 - Disease (40), Car strike (16), Unknown (2), Attack suspected (1), Other (1)
Sighted: 0, Admitted: 17, Released: 3, In Care: 1, Deaths: 13 - Disease (12), Orphaned/abandoned (2), Attack suspected (1)
Sighted: 20, Admitted: 27, Released: 6, In Care: 0, Deaths: 21 - Disease (10), Dog attack (4), Unknown (3), Attack suspected (1), Car (1)
Sighted: 286, Admitted: 196, Released: 51, In Care: 5, Deaths: 134 - Disease (85), Car (28), Dog attack (8), Unknown (7), Attack suspected (3), Dependant on parents taken (1), Geriatric (1), Other (1)
Sighted: 49, Admitted: 30, Released: 7, In Care: 3, Deaths: 19 - Disease (10), Car (6), Unknown (3)
Sighted: 1, Admitted: 0, Released: 10, In Care: 2, Deaths: 0
Sighted: 113, Admitted: 28, Released: 10, In Care: 2, Deaths: 16 - Disease (8), Unknown (4), Car (3), Dog attack (1)
TOTAL FOR 2018/2019
Sighted: 775, Admitted: 394, Released: 96, In Care: 12, Deaths: 279 - Disease (171), Car (59), Unknown causes (20), Dog attack (13), Attack suspected (7), Other (3), Habitat loss (2), Orphaned/abandoned (2), Dependant on parents taken (1), Geriatric (1)