Some years ago, there was a vibrant koala colony around Iluka, but bushfires, disease, dogs and expansion of human activity drastically reduced their numbers.
With no reported sightings for several years it was thought the population had died out, and koalas were deemed to be functionally extinct from Iluka. But then records by WIRES Clarence Valley branch began to rekindle interest, and further ecological studies showed them to be returning, albeit in very small numbers.
Tragically one or two were road deaths, and some beyond help, so unable to be returned. However more lately koalas have been reported, mainly from around the golf course, the conservation reserve, Sid Gill Park, Iluka Road, and in more unexpected places like Moriarty's break wall, from where it was relocated by WIRES, on a cafe verandah, and in a resident's garage.
Photographs taken by Iluka's keen koala spotters have shown these animals to be mainly in good health, so able to be left to do what koalas are designed to do.
Recently a cyclist spotted a koala cross the Iluka Road into bushland, where it climbed a small tree then sat a convenient 2m off the ground, so enabling a good close look. The resident then called Clarence Valley WIRES, and reported the koala to be an adult male, suffering from an injured or diseased left eye.
Unfortunately he disappeared before help could arrive. So residents are now urged to keep a look out for this koala, which could be in severe trouble if the eye problem is a chlamydia-related disease.
WIRES are also calling for Iluka residents as well as visitors to the area, to report all koala sightings, whether apparently healthy or not, for recording on the NSW Wildlife Atlas, or for capture and treatment where possible of sick or injured animals by experienced WIRES koala rescuers and carers, before hopefully their safe return to their usual surroundings.
Even a koala high in a tree will add to the knowledge of their range
For any sightings please notify the WIRES Threatened Species Reporting Officer (0456 689 134)
- Patricia Edwards
This article was originally published in the VOICES FOR THE EARTH column in The Daily Examiner on September 25, 2017.
NOTE: Iluka is on the northern side of the mouth of the Clarence River.