Koala Konnections Day

A  LOVE of our native wildlife is the driving force behind the operation of the Ipswich Koala Protection Society, based at Mount Forbes. Last Sunday the group opened their doors, inviting the public to take a look at their operation and gain an understanding of the work they do.

Cr Heather Morrow and Cr David Pahlke with the IKPS and some

         Little Bubbas

President of the group, Ruth Lewis said the day originated when Cr Pahlke asked if the Friends of Division 10 could visit the centre. “This ked us to thinking that we could make the day an annual open day and invite people from further afield than just the local area,” she said. It started in 1994, originally to protect the native wildlife and habitat along the Woogaroo Creek catchment, by Ric Nattrass, a wildlife ranger and Wildman of the ABC along with handful of concerned residents in Camira. Today the group has 300 members, 50 experienced, dedicated wildlife carers, with several of them specialising in koala rescue and Rehabilitation. The name has its basis in that the habitat of the koala is also the same habitat of many of our wildlife. “And today we cover all of Ipswich and surrounding shires, travelling at least 20,000 kilometres a year on koala rescue alone,” Ruth said. She said that in the earlier days the group had a two part dream, the first part of that was to own a Koala/Wildlife Ambulance. “We now own two designated Wildlife Ambulances rescuing in excess of 180 sick, injured and orphaned koalas each year, as well as countless numbers of other native wildlife species.

One big Cutie and a Little Cutie

“And we are so fortunate to have the backing of Ipswich City Council who sponsor our Number One Ambulance, covering the registration and insurance costs for many years. She said the second part of the dream was to have their own Wildlife Clinic to enable them to assess and treat wildlife in a timely and appropriate manner. “ We achieved this in 2007 when we established our Rescue and Rehabilitation Clinic based at Moiunt Forbes. “We are the only not-for-profit, volunteer organisation with such facilities and we have a member who is specialised wildlife vet and available to us 24/7. “We’ve also planted over 700 koala and wildlife trees donated by the Ipswich City Council, on the property, she said.” 

A LITTLE CUTIE 

She added that Ipswich is home to possibly the largest, healthy koala population in South East Queensland with Rosewood, Mount Forbes, Ebenezer, Amberley as some of the majority of this population. The area has been recognised by the State Government as high value bushland and critical koala habitat. “Although our aims and objectives have not changed over the years, our role has grown to include media releases, writing submissions, working closely with local, state and federal government bodies and their representatives. “ We’ve come to realise over the years that it is not enough to rescue and rehabilitate sick, injured and orphaned wildlife because if they have nothing to go back to our efforts are pointless.

Ruth Lewis and Helen Darbellay from IKPS and Catherine Bone

     (Manager) of Spicers with Cr. David Pahlke

“By educating the public and creating public awareness of the plight of all wildlife, not just in our own backyard, and how critical it is that we conserve habitat, we may just make a difference to their future. “And that is partly what our Koala Konnections Open Day was all about.” she said.

-Story Courtesy of The Moreton Border News, 16/8/2013

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