Activist Martine Moran is calling for a hospital and training centre in Gunnedah to save the shire’s koalas.
The long-time WIRES volunteer is now the only person standing between koalas and death’s door in the north-west and said “something has to be done”.
Mrs Moran said she constantly receives calls about koalas that look unwell, have been hit by vehicles or trains, or bitten by dogs.
Even on the day NVI was going to see Mrs Moran, she had received a call from a member of the public reporting an unwell koala at the go-kart track.
In the last 15 years, six weeks is the longest period that Mrs Moran hasn’t had a koala in care. At the worst point, she had up to 10 koalas in care, some with chlamydia and others injured on the road.
Koalas that have chlamydia often need to be in care for months at a time before they can be released again. Studies have shown that Gunnedah’s koalas population has been decimated in recent years.
After Waterways Wildlife Park was closed by the NSW Department of Primary Industries in May 2016, Mrs Moran said “there wasn’t anywhere else for koalas to go”.
“There’s an undeniable need [for a hospital],” Mrs Moran said.
“There’s nowhere for the sick and injured ones to go and it’s appalling that there’s nowhere for them to go.
“I could get calls night and day; that’s why I think [Gunnedah Shire Council] needs to get something done.”
When questioned about its plans for the funding, the council said it was “still waiting on the funding deed from the State Government about the koala centre”.
Mrs Moran said she “can’t do it forever” and hasn’t been on a holiday in a “long, long time”.
“It’s pretty full-on all the time,” she said.
Mrs Moran said there may be people in Gunnedah interested in learning how to care for koalas but it was not easy to access training.
“If you had a hospital, you could run a training centre through the hospital,” she said.
“You could have vets come in.”