FINE DINING: Prince Harry the koala likes his leaf served on a silver platter.
FINE DINING: Prince Harry the koala likes his leaf served on a silver platter. Contributed

A rescue worthy of royalty

HE MAY not be "koalified” to rule a kingdom, but the Whitsunday's own Prince Harry has stolen just as many hearts as the Duke of Sussex.

Fauna Rescue Whitsundays volunteer Liza Sparke was manning the Injured Animal Hotline last Friday afternoon when a rescue request came through.

A koala had been found clinging to the top of a tall palm tree in a woman's backyard in the Eton Range, west of Mackay.

Ms Sparke alerted the team, including species liaison officer for koalas Ian Gottke, but on arrival they realised the marsupial was too high to reach.

When the koala made his descent around nightfall, he was picked up and transported for treatment.

Ms Sparke said usually the person who alerts the team gets to name the animal, but when they weren't sure what to call him, she had a quirky idea.

In honour of the Duke of Sussex, who opened the Invictus Games last weekend, the middle-aged koala was dubbed "Prince Harry” and has received royal treatment ever since.

Mr Gottke said "Prince Harry” appeared to have had a bit of a hard time, possibly involved in some fights with larger koalas, as well having a small ulcer on one eye.

"He's wandered into the yard and the dogs have been barking, fortunately they were in another pen, and of course he found the closest thing that he could,” Mr Gottke said.

"He was a very quiet koala and if they're not very feisty then usually they're not very well.

"They've got massive claws. Normally you'd be holding onto a koala one minute and the next minute it's like holding onto a chainsaw.”

But "Prince Harry” was more than gracious about his rescue.

Mr Gottke said the burly 8.9kg koala had been given ointment twice a day to treat the ulcer on his eye as well as some good leaf and plenty of tender loving care.

The animal was assessed on Monday and will remain in care for about a week before a possible release.

Mr Gottke encouraged people to call the Fauna Rescue Whitsundays hotline if they spot koalas so that they can be mapped to show hotspots.

"Koala underpasses have been put in on the Peak Downs Highway, and that's thanks to this data,” he said.

The Injured Animal Hotline is 4947 3389.


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