Koalas at risk of dog attack

Date posted: 24 January 2013

Dog owners are being asked to keep an eye on their pets when koalas are around following a spike in the number of koalas being attacked.

Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources Animal Welfare Manager Dr Deb Kelly said a recent count had found about 20 koalas recovering with wildlife carers after being bitten by dogs.

“Koalas tend to be more active the ground in warmer weather, as they look for water or companionship from the opposite sex or when they’re just moving from tree to tree,” Dr Kelly said.

“That brings them into contact with dogs, both in parks and backyards, and dogs and koalas just don’t mix.

“We’ve seen some quite serious injuries to koalas in dog attacks in the past couple of months, but even a minor wound can end up being fatal because koalas go into shock very easily.

“And it’s not only the koalas that are at risk, either. Koalas have long, sharp claws and they can do a fair bit of damage to a dog if they’re cornered.

“If you see a koala on the ground in your backyard, make sure you keep your dog inside, for the safety of both animals.

“If the koala is uninjured, it will probably leave the same way it came in, but if it is already injured or obviously trapped, call Fauna Rescue for assistance.”

Dr Kelly said backyard swimming pools were also a hazard for koalas, as they may fall in while drinking.

A makeshift ladder such as a length of rope or shade cloth anchored firmly to the ground and dangling in the water can save a koala from drowning.

If you see an injured or trapped koala, call Fauna Rescue on (08) 8289 0896.

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