FIRST: Young koala Noelle is in the care of Fauna Rescue Whitsunday after suffering heat stress.
FIRST: Young koala Noelle is in the care of Fauna Rescue Whitsunday after suffering heat stress. Georgia Simpson

Heat deadly for wildlife

SHE may not have given birth to the King of Israel but Noelle is certainly the first Noelle at Fauna Rescue Whitsundays.

Fauna Rescue Whitsunday volunteer Liza Sparke said Noelle was one of eight koalas in the care of Fauna Rescue Whitsundays, all suffering heat stress from extreme weather conditions our region has experienced during the past week.

"We're absolutely inundated with koalas, three of which are baby girls,” she said.

Noelle was found west of Mackay, in Dysart, and, although she's not a baby, she's still quite young and needs a bit of TLC.

"All the koalas in care are suffering heat stress, there's no burns as a result of the fires or anything like that, thankfully,” Ms Sparke said.

A koala suffering from heat stress will sit on the ground, doing nothing.

"It's easy to tell, they just sit on the ground, doing nothing - mothers abandon their babies because that's what they do when they're under that much stress, they just sit, and they pant.

"We know for certain one of the three babies we have in our care at the moment was, in fact, abandoned by its mother.”

Aside from suffering heat exhaustion, which can cost them their lives, without the cover and safety of being high in a tree, koalas on the ground are also susceptible to other dangers.

"Domestic animals, such as dogs, pose a threat to their safety so, if you see one just sitting on the ground, it's best to call us right away,” she said.

Koalas aren't the only animals feeling the heat, and Ms Sparke recommended people leave out shallow dishes of water for thirsty wildlife.

"Birds, echidnas, goannas, whatever will come across it and have a drink.

"You only need one centimetre of clean water.

"Try to leave it in a shady area so it doesn't evaporate in the heat.”

If you find a koala in distress, or any other animal in trouble, contact Fauna Rescue Whitsundays on 49473389.


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