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Byron Shire
August 18, 2022

Pin-up koala D’vine of The Channon dies

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A healthy D’vine in her calendar debut in December 2021 with her last baby. She features on the February page of the WATER Northern Rivers 2022 calendar, sadly, the same month she died.

The much-loved koala D’vine, whose image has highlighted the importance of local koalas, has died at The Channon.

Koalas were only last week lifted from the status of ‘vulnerable’ to ‘endangered’ by the federal government, recognising the koala is one step further along the pathway to extinction.

D’vine’s dark-stained rump was an indication that she was not in good health.

D’vine was healthy until recently when it was discovered that she has a dark-stained rump, a sign of possible chlamydial infection.

Her condition was reported to the Lismore Friends of the Koala. The koala rescue team arrived at The Channon immediately and set up a trap around her favourite Swamp Mahogany.

When captured she was taken to the koala hospital where she was examined and found to be seriously diseased. She was euthanased.

The Channon community is devastated as she was well known as the koala on the February page of the WATER Northern Rivers 2022 calendar.

Koalas in serious trouble

D’vine was a much-loved koala. Photo Hugh Nicholson.

Koalas are in serious trouble in the Northern Rivers, as they are almost everywhere. D’vine belonged to the sub-population inhabiting the area where the proposed Dunoon Dam would be built. She lived just one kilometre from the proposed dam wall.

Local residents and koala experts including Dr Steve Phillips of Biolink, are concerned that the loss of 72 ha of koala habitat from the construction of the Dunoon Dam would have a disastrous effect on local koala numbers.

Photo Hugh Nicholson.

Nan Nicholson, who lives on the same area of land on which D’vine spent her last years, says destroying a large swathe of Tallowwood and Flooded Gum forest, and severing critical corridors that koalas use to move through the landscape, is completely unacceptable at this stage on the dive towards extinction.

‘Habitat loss is the major cause of koala decline and contributes to secondary threats such as disease, dog attack and car strike. With koalas on a rapid trajectory towards extinction in the NSW, it is critically important that every koala feed tree is preserved.’

Friends of the Koala in Lismore rescues and cares for koalas around the clock. They ask that anyone who sees a sick koala notifies them immediately on the Koala hotline 66 221 233.

Koala sightings can be reported to Friends of the Koala on their website.


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7 COMMENTS

  1. friends of the koalas or fiddlers of koalas , if the majority of Koalas in this area have the diseaase what purpose does euthanising an endangered species have? also what is the concern about habitiat loss for a dam construction if every koala we come across is euthanised, out of the 335 koalas captured and put into care in lismore 199 were euthanised within 24 hrs with only 98 being returned to the wild and if any one of those 98 contract the disease they are as good as dead if the “Friends” catch them.

    • Dennis FoK do not waste their time trapping healthy koalas. They focus on the diseased or injured animals. They will assess the koala for infected eyes or a dirty bum before deciding to trap them. The healthy animals will stay high in the tree, remain mobile and are quite difficult to trap. However, the sick and injured animals are found closer to the ground and are easier to trap.

      Those 335 koalas in your example will be diseased or injured, and very likely to have died without some medical intervention. The very sick animals will often be blind, starving, severely underweight and fly blown, and are put down. I think most empathetic people can understand why this difficult decision is made. The remaining 98 koalas that might have died, are treated, and returned to the wild and given a chance to reproduce. Therefore, FoK is NOT responsible for the decline of the Koala population, as your letter claims.

      Furthermore, the majority of people (mostly women) who work for FoK are volunteers. They routinely put in many hours per week of unpaid work. The koala rescue teams get called out at all hours when asked to by members of the public. So, show a bit of respect for FoK!

      And anyone who had some empathy in their emotional range would understand that it must be very difficult for the FoK vets and their support staff to euthanize those 199 koalas, that you complained about. A few tears are shed from time to time, I’m sure.

      Dennis I suggest that you reflect on your comments, and then make a donation to FoK.

      https://friendsofthekoala.org/

  2. Dennis, do you know why they were euthanised? I would have thought a chlamydial infection could have been cured. It is appalling that 199 out of 335 koalas have been euthanised. How upsetting.

    • It depends on the progression of the disease whether they can be saved. The earlier they are treated the better their chance of survival.

      • Constant monitoring could be achieved by allowing rescued Koalas to be kept as pets.
        In the end, pet Koalas may be the only ones left and feral Koalas in the future can inherit the continent.
        It’s a sound backup plan. Just in case everything else fails.

        • Chris, your comment is a nice sentiment, but hopelessly misinformed. Where to start?

          Looking after a koala as a pet in the home would be a full time job. They need fresh leaf everyday from two or three appropriate food species. They are highly sensitive to noise. If the animal becomes stressed for any reason, they routinely develop diseases such as Chlamydia, Koala Retrovirus or Tiflocolitis. All of these diseases are associated with a high mortality rates and require intensive veterinary treatment to manage successfully. Many veterinary examinations will require a general anesthetic (they are not exactly complaint and have long claws), blood tests, other cultures, maybe surgery if required. It would soon become very expensive if you had to pay for these vet services yourself.

          Then what would you do with the koala? Keep it in a cage? That would be cruel long term and I very much doubt if they would breed. They are nocturnal. Sleep during the day but up at night. They would need some sort of stimulation. Are you going to stay up and spend time with the captive koala? They want to be up a tree hanging out with other koalas making baby koalas. So then what, you need to have a few fenced off mature eucalyptus, in the backyard to keep them contained and safe from dogs etc.

          Koalas need safe habitat! Like for example,….. the Channon Gorge.

  3. Gosh, If there are any Friends of the Koala reading these responses they must be weeping. Do you think they like killing koalas? Or do it lightly?

    Most of them are volunteers and all of the them do everything humanly possible to preserve koalas as individuals and as a species.

    Is it a great idea to allow sick koalas to die slowly and horribly, meanwhile infecting and dooming numerous other koalas ?

    Chlamydia can be cured but without a vaccine, for which there is no money, the koalas just catch it again.

    Why is it so hard to accept that the more habitat that koalas have then the less likely they are to suffer stress-related diseases and other causes of mortality. Anyone would think that koalas don’t have a right to be here.

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