By BEC FIST
IN response to a significant increase in the local koala population, wildlife organisations hosted a koala rescue and rehabilitation training day last Sunday.
"People are seeing koalas really regularly now, as there are upwards of 900 koalas living between Cooma and Queanbeyan," James Fitzgerald, President of Wildcare, said.
Wildcare and Looking After Our Kosciusko Orphans have deemed the training day as a success, with 40 people attending at Bredbo Hall.
Participants learnt vital skills, such as koala handling and transportation, assessment in the wild and rescue techniques.
Mr Fitzgerald stressed that the importance of understanding that wild animals who are injured or in trouble tend not to reveal the extent of their distress.
However, there are a few tell tale signs.
"If you see a koala in a funny spot, on the ground or low in a tree, be sure to call us because it probably needs rescuing," Mr Fitzgerald said.
Other indicators include discharge from an eye or brown staining on the rump.
Barb Dobner from Friends of the Koala covered a range of topics on Sunday including handling.
Attendees were taught to handle these furry creatures with care; they may appear to be friendly, but koalas really are the 'Edward Scissor Hands' of the natural world.
Mark Adams, Project Manager at Cooma-Monaro Shire Council, spoke briefly about plans to develop a comprehensive koala management strategy.
Attendees also heard from Chris Allen from the National Parks and Wildlife Service, who provided the latest information on the recovering koala population in the mountains to the east of the Monaro Highway.
"Most people don't know that the koalas are nearby, so we're here to raising awareness and protect them," Mr Fitzgerald said.
For local wildlife assistance contact LAOKO on 6456 1313 or Wildcare on 6299 1966.