Find out how the koalas relocated to Cleland after South Australia’s bushfires are faring

Find out how the koalas relocated to Cleland after South Australia’s bushfires are faring

More than 40 koalas were relo­cat­ed to Cle­land Wildlife Park after the sum­mer bush­fires. Find out how they’re going.

The 2019 – 20 sum­mer bush­fires burnt near­ly 300,000 hectares across the state – includ­ing about 200,000 hectares on Kan­ga­roo Island and 23,000 hectares in the Ade­laide Hills – mis­plac­ing thou­sands of native ani­mals, like koalas.

A statewide res­cue of about 600 koalas was led by the South Aus­tralian Vet­eri­nary Emer­gency Man­age­ment (SAVEM) team, with more than 40 relo­cat­ed to Cle­land Wildlife Park for rehabilitation.

The koalas tak­en to Cle­land came from the Ade­laide Hills and Kan­ga­roo Island. The relo­ca­tion pre­vent­ed them dying from star­va­tion due to habi­tat loss and pro­vid­ed care to those injured.

Many of the koalas are still liv­ing at Cle­land, and those that came from Kan­ga­roo Island now form part of a spe­cial dis­ease-free koala pop­u­la­tion on main­land SA.

Find out how the koalas relocated to Cleland after South Australia’s bushfires are faring

What’s so spe­cial about the Kan­ga­roo Island koalas?

The koalas res­cued from Kan­ga­roo Island are spe­cial because they are free of chlamy­dia and most are free from koala retro­virus (KoRV).

Chlamy­dia is a bac­te­r­i­al infec­tion. It is a sig­nif­i­cant dis­ease caus­ing death in koalas, and is a con­tribut­ing fac­tor in koalas being under threat in north­east Aus­tralia – Queens­land, New South Wales and the Aus­tralian Cap­i­tal Territory.

KoRV is com­mon­ly found in koalas across Aus­tralia. The impact of the virus is not total­ly under­stood, but it has been asso­ci­at­ed with immune changes and diseases.

The res­cued dis­ease-free koalas are an impor­tant pop­u­la­tion for vital koala research to ensure the species’ long-term survival. 

How are the res­cued koalas faring?

Cle­land Wildlife Park has more than 50 years of expe­ri­ence car­ing for koalas.

The park’s vets and staff have exten­sive knowl­edge in car­ing for koalas and oth­er native ani­mals, and have earned inter­na­tion­al recog­ni­tion for their koala care.

Gen­er­al­ly the koalas res­cued from the 2019 – 20 sum­mer bush­fires suf­fered a high mor­tal­i­ty rate because of the effects of burns, stress and smoke inhalation.

The vast major­i­ty of the bush­fire-res­cued koalas in care at Cle­land sur­vived. A few suc­cumbed to their injuries, one Ade­laide Hills koala was healthy enough to be re-released to the hills, and the rest remain in care at Cle­land Wildlife Park.

Aus­tralian Armed Forces help res­cued Kan­ga­roo Island koalas at Cle­land Wildlife Park 

How can you help?

You can help these res­cued koalas by donat­ing to the Inter­na­tion­al Koala Cen­tre of Excel­lence.

Want to learn about some of the oth­er species affect­ed by the sum­mer bush­fires on Kan­ga­roo Island? Read aboutKI dun­narts,glossy black-cock­a­toosandplaty­pus­es.

This con­tent was pro­duced in part­ner­ship with  Good Living