I was excited to be asked to comment about my time at Dutch Thunder Wildlife Shelter. Holly from the Cobram Courier saw the video of the rescue Kylee and I did and contacted us for comment. I was thrilled to see that they used photos of me to promote the work that Dutch Thunder do and that they shared a bit about what I did on my visit and what Kylee thought of me.
I was so happy that I was invited up to Dutch Thunder Wildlife Shelter to see James Leonard and Kylee Donkers receive their Australia Day Citizens of the Year Awards. It's amazing that their work and dedication was recognised. Thank you to the people that nominated them which has bought more awareness to the work that they do.
It was also awesome that the Koala Project and the wildlife work that the shelter and the volunteers do was recognised with the Australia Day Community Organisation of the Year and with this article, more awareness will be raised within the community.
Spreading the message and raising money for this cause is very close to my heart and I am happy to be a part of raising awareness. Thank you Holly for these amazing articles and helping us get the word out.
If you would like to help me support the work that Dutch Thunder do, you can donate to my online fundraiser- EVERY dollar helps!
I am currently staying with James and Kylee at Dutch Thunder Wildlife Shelter in Koonoomoo (Northern Victoria). On Sunday, January 20th, we got a call out for a koala sitting in the river. We quickly grabbed some equipment and jumped in the car.
When we got there we could hardly see this koala. It was very lucky that a farmer had seen her and made the important call that helped get her out.
I still can't believe that I was a part of this rescue and I am so thankful that Kylee asked my mum to film this for her and that it went so smoothly.
In the video you can see the green laundry basket that we used to put the koala in. I was so happy that Kylee used this basket. Thank you to Home Leisure in Mulgrave, Victoria who donated 20 of these baskets to my cause. Rescuers use these for all kinds of rescues or transporting of wildlife. We all think they are just for laundry but they are valuable pieces of equipment for wildlife rescuers- not just to hold the loads and loads of pouches and blankets that they wash each day. I donated 16 of these to Dutch Thunder to use for rescues.
Unfortunately this koala didn't survive. We bought her into care. Checked her for Sarcoptic Mange (which fortunately she didn't have) and Kylee gave her a check over, some fluids and left her in a quiet enclosure with some leaf. She didn't touch her leaf at all and I found her the following day on one of my many "koala rounds" deceased. She didn't die in a river which I am thankful for. I just wish we could have done more for her.
But a HUGE thank you to the man that noticed her and called her in. This phone call helped this koala spend her final hours being loved and cared for.
In July 2018, we met Janet in Werribee and gave her two sets of scales that I purchased for her. They were $350. She was so happy and couldn't wait to use them.
Finally on January 5th, mum and I were able to make the near 4hr drive down to Macarthur and spend a weekend with Janet. It was AMAZING!
She couldn't wait to show us around her new treatment room! Its incredible and has changed her life and the way she can treat koalas. How amazing does it look! With the help of her local Men's Shed, it didn't cost her the world. With my donations through 2018, I was able to help build this room.
It was not all koalas on the weekend. Janet's daughter Jade, took me out for a ride on one of her horses. It was so much fun- i Loved it! was very sore but it was worth it.
We also got to be "tourists" and got to go see the beach. I LOVE the beach!
We got to go out with Janet and see what threats koalas in her region are facing. The main threat is harvesting in Blue Gum Plantations.
Blue gum Plantation Koalas
Koalas cannot move through plantations once they have been harvested. The ground is covered with slash (timber, bark, chips from the harvesting) and they don't feel safe or sometimes are physically not able to move through it. They strip the trees they are in until there is nothing left. They are more vulnerable to predators both on ground and in the sky and are exposed to more weather and wind with no shelter from the "forest."
Whilst harvesting, they are not always detected in trees until they are harvested causing death or life threatening injuries. There needs to be more laws to protect them in plantations and more effort in ensuring they are protected when harvesting.
They are not given any habitat corridors within coupes and it is expected that they will simply move to other trees. This is NOT possible. Koalas are territorial and have a home range- even in plantations.
Koalas are forced to move and in doing so,
- cross roads and are hit by cars
- they wander onto farmlands and into backyards where they are attacked by dogs or trampled by livestock.
Young koala in a formally harvested plantation
Stranded koala in harvested plantation
We need to increase protection for them. We need to ensure they have habitat saved if they are found in coupes prior to harvesting. They need wildlife corridors within coupes and surrounding coupes. They need safe passages between trees in harvested coupes (clearing the land of slash immediately). They need more protection.
What can you do to help?
Use only environmentally friendly toilet paper, tissues, paper towel, PAPER- ANY paper products. These trees are being made into paper. Either here in Australia or being shipped through our ports to China to be made into paper products. This is NOT being made into building materials - its been made into PAPER. The more paper you can use that is made from recycled products- the better!
If you are buying timber- only buy timber that is ethically sourced. 'Well managed' according to Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) principles.
Found adjoining a plantation
Found IN plantations
I had the most amazing weekend at Macarthur. I learned lots, had lots of fun and was inspired to help Koalas in other ways. Thank you Janet and Jade for having my mum and I. We can't wait to come back again SOON!
My name is Libby and I am 13 years old. I am a Koala Crusader- raising money and awareness for our VULNERABLE koala's and spreading messages about our wildlife that we are lucky enough to live WITH. These are stories written by ME!