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Byron Shire
June 9, 2023

There’s something about Shazza

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Shazza-Rain and bubba Bow are back in the wild after a visit to the Friends of the Koala’s Care Centre. photo supplied.

Eight-year-old ‘Shazza’ has a thing for the Friends of the Koala’s Care Centre – the female koala has just had her second little ‘holiday’ at the Lismore facility.

Back in October 2016 the centre had the pleasure of looking after the beautiful mum and her bub – then six-years-old, the adult Shazza had mild conjunctivitis and her joey ‘Marley’ was healthy and just over 1kg.

Both were very attractive and chilled out in care making them volunteer favourites very quickly. Shazza only needed a short term of antibiotics and after six, she and her little fella were back in the wild.

Fast forward to October 2018 momma was back into care with a new back young. The pair were found trapped underneath a home not far from the Care Centre.

The home owner was a kindergarten teacher so she asked her class which names we should use for the little family – we didn’t know it was a tagged female at that point.

The children chose ‘Rain’ for the mum and ‘Bow’ for the joey – a beautiful pair of names.

Friends of the Koala’s Care Centre volunteer Lili with fundraising friend at the Carboot market. Photo supplied.

It wasn’t long before Shazza was identified by her ear tag then she and Bow (a little girl) were put into an enclosure to await their vet check up.

Not only good news, but the best news –  both koalas were in perfect health and for a very special treat, Vet Ray from Keen Street was able to see the tiny little life growing inside of Shazza – she was pregnant!

With koala females only being pregnant for 35 days, it is a rare treat indeed to see them on ultrasound and the fluttering heart beat had everyone very emotional – such a special moment.

The family were in care for a few weeks while tests were run and it’s fair to say, every volunteer fell madly in love with Bow who has a huge personality and a very pretty ace, Bow was always up to mischief and loved to pose for her fans.

After all the test results came back negative, carers were able to release Shazza, Bow and Jellybean back into the trees nearby the care centre.  It would seem that poor Shazza hasn’t had much of a break when it comes to raising young, but she is such a great mum, we hope she has many more in the years to come.

Koala care centre at capacity

At present Friends of the Koala’s Care Centre is at full capacity. For the first time they have 24 koalas in care with no spare runs to take new koalas, which continue to arrive each day.

They are releasing as many as they can, and there are many trips to Currumbin Wildlife Hospital, which, as well as Australian Zoo Wildlife Hospital, is also at capacity.

This is due to a combination of factors.

The centre’s Koala Watch project, which has been rolling out workshops across the region, the FOK campaign to prevent a local extinction, where members in the community are more aware of when to report a koala.

The centre will also most likely release more koalas than they have in the past if the current trend continues which is directly related to members of the community reporting incidents as soon as they occur.

Looking after ‘Joanna’ in care at the Lismore centre. Photo supplied.

Other factors are that we’re in breeding season, which always results in more koalas being injured either on the roads or by dogs or cattle, and climate change, which constitutes a threat to koalas. As temperatures rise and weather patterns change, the nutritional value of Eucalypt koala food trees is likely to change, putting additional stress on koalas by altering their diet.

While the centre is managing the situation carefully, the number of koalas in care is having a significant impact on all our volunteers, from rescuers, 24/7 rescue hotline monitors, leafers, who are having to spend more time sourcing their leaf, and carers who have to spend more hours attending to their needs whilst in care.

If you have even a few hours a week that you could contribute to helping to save our koalas, give the centre a call on 6621 4664.

The committee is also looking for a treasurer – if anyone is familiar with QuickBooks would be prepared to consider helping with this, call Ros on 6621 5906

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