THE public is being urged to keep an eye out for koalas as a sweltering heatwave tightens its grip on Gunnedah and surrounds.
A Gunnedah koala crusader is calling on the region’s residents to take care of our much-loved marsupials this summer by putting out water and keeping them away from cattle and dogs.
It follows a Spring Ridge farmer capturing the moment a curious koala took a dip to cool down in a property dam late last week.
Mitch Deal was driving past a dam at the property he manages, “Boyanda North”, which backs onto the Breeza State Forest, when he noticed something unusual.
“There are so many (koalas) around here, but I didn’t know what it was when I drove past,” Mr Deal said.
“It was by the dam next to the house.
“He was asleep, it looked like he’d had a big night and was having a snooze by the dam.
“We usually see one (koala) a week, but never like this.”
There’s little wonder why the koala chose to take a dip and cool down, with the mercury climbing to high-30s across the region late last week.
And don’t expect any respite from the heat soon.
According to the Bureau of Meteorology, Gunnedah will reach a top of 40 degrees on Tuesday and 41 degrees on Wednesday.
The family took the dam koala to Wildlife Information, Rescue and Education Service (WIRES).
WIRES koala coordinator for Central Northern Martine Moran said the dam koala was thirsty when it arrived and it eventually started eating later that day.
“If (people) find a koala on the ground and it's distressed, they can present water to it in some form - not a bucket - and then if they really think it needs to come in, ring up WIRES,” she said.
“If it's really really sick, prop it up and maybe put a wet towel on it and still call WIRES.
“(Humans) can get hurt picking them up.
“If they had a closed bin or box they're not going to get out if they're being transported, well-ventilated. Don't transport them if they think they're going to get out and it's going to be dangerous.”