Sylvania Veterinary Hospital helps nurse injured koala back to health

Lucky escape: This koala was nursed back to health after he was rescued from a road. Picture: Facebook
Lucky escape: This koala was nursed back to health after he was rescued from a road. Picture: Facebook

Sylvania Veterinary Hospital had a surprise visitor on Friday night when a member of the public brought in a male koala thought to have been hit by a car.

A member of the public found the mature koala on Heathcote Road and brought him to the veterinary hospital about 10.45pm, shortly before closing.

Veterinary nurse Elanna Bellucci said the koala was concussed and had scratches on its face.

"Our guess was that it had been hit by a car as it was quite concussed," she said.

"They had found it on the road and stopped and picked it up and brought it in."

Sylvania Veterinary Hospital owner Dr David Lee assessed the koala before taking him home.

"It went home with him so he could give it some medication; anti-inflammatories for the concussion and inflammation and antibiotics for the scratches," she said.

"He was pretty friendly the first night. We were able to pick him up and carry him around and give him cuddles because he was still concussed but after that he became a little bit feisty.

"He destroyed Dave's house a bit. He pulled down a few shelves trying to climb up."

With the koala feeling better, the Wildlife Information, Rescue and Education Service (WIRES) was called in.

He spent a night with a volunteer before he was deemed well enough to be released back into the wild.

"Because koalas are quite territorial it's important to release them back into the same general area but in this case they took him a little deeper into the bush, away from the road," Ms Bellucci said.

In a post on their Facebook page, the veterinary hospital said it was "thankful that his journey ended this way, unlike so many others who have sadly lost their lives and homes".

It comes as wildlife experts said koalas, which were already considered vulnerable, could be endangered following the unprecedented bushfire crisis affecting much of Australia.

A recovery plan is set to be established for koalas after their habitats were destroyed in NSW, Queensland and South Australia.

Environment Minister Sussan Ley said on Monday during a visit to Port Macquarie Koala Hospital that everything possible would be done to rescue and recover koala habitats.

More than one billion animals are thought to have perished in the bushfires, prompting the federal government to provide a $50 million cash injection for wildlife and environmental groups.