A KOALA shot seven times with a slug gun is the fourth to be presented to Australia Zoo in two years in disturbing cases of animal cruelty.
Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital vets will today operate on a koala found overnight with seven slug gun pellets lodged in its body. In what is being described as one of the most sickeneing acts of animal cruelty, the koalas has been shot in every limb.
The six-year-old male was found at a remote location at Kippa-Ring near Redcliffe after being shot some time last week.
Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital vet Dr Amber Gillett last night examined the koala, dubbed Fleet, and placed him on antiobiotics, pain relief and fluids.
"X-rays have revealed seven pellets littered throughout his body, including one that is lodged in his skull," Dr Gillett said.
"Fleet has one pellet lodged in his skull, lower back and behind his ear as well as one pellet in each limb which could indicate that he was deliberately shot from all angles."
The Australia Zoo Rescue Unit responded to a call for help from Moreton Bay Koala Rescue Inc. regarding an injured koala.
Upon arrival, Manager of the Australia Zoo Rescue Unit Brian Coulter identified the injured koala high in a tree and commenced an immediate rescue.
"The koala had a severe wound on its nose which clearly required immediate treatment.
"Once the koala was safely rescued and secure, the Australia Zoo Rescue Unit transported the koala to the Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital," Brian said.
Fleet is in a stable condition in the Intensive Care Unit.
If Fleet's condition remains stable, surgery will be scheduled to attempt to remove pellets from his body.
Fleet is currently receiving intravenous antibiotics, fluids, and strong pain relief.
"Fleet will require intensive monitoring and care over the coming days,'' the vet said.
"My biggest concern for Fleet at the moment is the spread of infection; "He is suffering from severe infection in his back leg which is associated with a pellet wound," Dr Gillett said.
"I am angered and concerned that this is the fourth koala in two years that has been presented to me at the Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital suffering from shot gun wounds.
"I am stunned to see this kind of animal cruelty, and cannot begin to fathom why somebody would want to shoot a koala that poses no threat to them.
"Koala populations are already in serious decline in South East Queensland and incidents such as these add unnecessary pressure to a species already struggling to survive."
Authorities have urged anyone with information to contact police or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.
The maximum penalty for harming a koala is $300,000 or two years in jail.
Last year, the koala shooting drama was closer to home when an injured koala joey was found by a member of the public near Kenilworth.
The koala joey was transported to the Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital by the Australia Zoo Rescue Unit where Dr Gillett was waiting to assess the youngster.
Assessment revealed the joey had sustained a fractured skull and significant damage to the stomach and intestines as result of result of being shot with what appears to be the spray of a shot gun.
X-rays revealed approximately 15 pellets scattered throughout her body. Frodo underwent two series of surgery in an attempt to remove pellets from her body.
Dr Gillett was able to remove seven pellets from various parts of her body, one of which was located in the skull throughout the two surgeries.
HOW YOU CAN HELP OUT
- Due to overwhelming public concern already, the Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital has set up an Everyday Hero page for Fleet and others like him in care at the Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital.
- To help Fleet please donate to the link below. www.everydayhero.com.au/event/koala
Staff at the Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital urge the public to call their 24-hr wildlife emergency hotline on 1300 369 652 for any wildlife emergencies.