A koala, affectionately known as Bruiser, is back in his home among the gum trees after being released in the grounds of Gunnedah Leather Processors on Monday.
The five-year-old male was under the care of Gunnedah WIRES volunteer Martine Moran for 366 days and was treated for chlamydia.
Bruiser had been living in the gum trees lining the tannery’s driveway for some time when staff noticed his left eye was swollen and crusted over.
Concerned, they contacted Mrs Moran who came and collected him. She took him to see koala specialist Doctor Alison Neef who worked at Tamworth Veterinary Hospital.
Dr Neef tested Bruiser for chlamydia and took swabs, sending the articles to the Koala Health Hub in Sydney for results.
“He was positive for chlamydia but it hadn’t gone to any other part [of his body],” Mrs Moran said.
Bruiser was put on a six-week course of antibiotics but it had limited success, only improving the condition of his eye, not completely clearing up the infection.
Dr Neef got hold of the antibiotic chlormphenacol from the Taronga Western Plains Wildlife Hospital and treated Bruiser who responded well. Mrs Moran said he has some scarring but he can still see.
After the successful treatment, swabs were taken and the results came back negative for chlamydia. A second set of swabs taken a fortnight later also showed a negative result and Bruiser was cleared for release.
“He was a very easy fella to deal with. He’s been a delightful fella,” Mrs Moran said.
When Bruiser was released he scented a number of the trees, let out a territorial call and then climbed high up a tree and settled in.
“It’s wonderful that he marked [the trees]. He was like, ‘I’m back’,” Mrs Moran said.
“I’m absolutely delighted he went up there. After a year, it’s wonderful to have a great result.
“Every one you can get back out there is great.”
Tannery staff Donna Waterford said she was thankful to Mrs Moran for taking him in and was glad to see him back in good health.
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