By Oliver Lees
A wildlife carer is asking that people keep an eye out for struggling koalas, following extreme weather in the Macedon Ranges that caused major damage to their habitat.
Macedon Ranges Koala Project founder Linda Healy said that with so many trees uprooted in forest areas, many koalas may be vulnerable or displaced.
“The main problem in our areas is the linkages in different forest areas and roadsides,” Ms Healy said.
“There’s been a lot of roadside tree damage through these storms and that limits the connectivity to different areas that they move through.
“They potentially could be forced to the ground more frequently and are therefore open to a higher risk of road trauma or dog attacks.”
As a specialist in koala rehabilitation, Ms Healy founded the project in 2009 after recognising an increase in the number of traumatised koalas.
The large enclosure on her property, where she regularly houses koalas following extreme weather events such as bushfires, was also damaged in the storms,
Ms Healy said koalas rarely like to stray from the areas where they were raised and that a forced change of environment can impact their diet.
“Koalas are very specialised eaters, they don’t eat all gum leaves, it depends on their specific chemical make-up,” she said.
“I could pick a ute load of gum leaves and they might only eat a quarter of that. That’s why trees and their diversity are so important.”
Ms Healy said that distressed koalas will curl up on the ground.
If found, contact a local wildlife rescue or Wildlife Victoria on: 03 8400 7300
Ms Healy plans to conduct a shire-wide koala survey in September.
To participate, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org