Friends of the Koala (FOK) is asking residents to take extra care on the roads and with their dogs due to the early start of the koala breeding season.
The organisation says the premature start, brought about by unseasonably warm weather, means many male koalas are moving around, particularly juvenile male joeys that have been kicked out of their colonies.
This means they’re on the ground and therefore more vulnerable to dogs and being hit by vehicles.
Friends of the Koala rescued 37 koalas in July, of which 16 were juveniles.
Of those juveniles, seven were hit by cars, three were attacked by dogs, five were diseased and one was in an unsuitable and unsafe environment.
Half of those rescued survived and have either been released or are still in care.
‘It’s always sad when koalas we’ve rescued either die or have to be euthanased.’ FOK President Ros Irwin said.
‘But in the case of juvenile joeys it’s particularly sad as these animals are so important for the survival of koalas into the future.’
Care Coordinator Susannah Keogh said the group was very appreciative locals who not only called when they spotted a koala in trouble, but stayed with
the animal until they got a rescuer there.
‘We all love dogs, but unfortunately they don’t mix well with koalas. It’s perfectly natural for any dog to chase and bite an intruder on their property. However, if
just one tooth pierces the koala’s skin it can start an infection which, if not treated within 12 hours, can kill the animal.
‘So the sooner we can rescue the animal the better chance it has of surviving.’