Desperate calls for Koala Hospital
KOALA rescuer Adelia Berridge is desperately calling for a care unit to be built within the Redland City Council area.
The animal advocate met with council today to discuss the benefits of her proposal for a koala hospital and sanctuary which she first proposed to a council meeting back in March.
"The first and foremost priority is to manage the welfare of sick or injured animals, to ensure they receive treatment and care as soon as possible," Ms Berridge.
She said that currently sick or injured koalas in Redlands are cared for by the Redland Wildlife Rescue volunteers.
From there, she said they were transported to the Manly Road Vet Hospital for relief but could not be fully treated due to a lack of specialised equipment.
"Once their immediate care is addressed (at Manly Road), they are then transported to the Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital," she said.
"Redland City Council has a number of dedicated volunteers who transport koalas from the Manly Road Vet Hospital to Australia Zoo - approximately 86 kilometres.
"The biggest issue is the time factor and delay."
Ms Berridge said while her proposed facility would need the support of the State Government, the purpose of the meeting this week was to keep council informed.
"What we would really like is for them to donate a block of land," she said.
Ms Berridge, who has been a resident in Redlands for 30 years, said she had been advocating for a combined care centre and sanctuary tourist attraction since 2017.
"Tourism is coming through Redlands to go to Stradbroke Island, why not have a place they can stop off on the way and see the koalas. Money can be made of photos and alike," she said.
"We have to bring some fresh ideas to make this work.
"I have no doubt at all it can be done."
She said she had approached investors with the idea and an interested party would visit Redlands in the coming weeks.
"I don't believe Council can afford to fund a wildlife hospital, and most likely can't financially support a koala care unit, which is why I have been approaching investors in the form of tourism operators similar to Currumbin.
"This is our closest full wildlife hospital but they can no longer receive Redlands koalas due to the heavy number they are now treating."
A Department of Environment and science spokesperson said the Government recognised the importance of maintaining a healthy koala population in southeast Queensland but there were no plans to increase facilities.
"The SEQ Wildlife Hospital Network supports the three large existing wildlife hospitals (Currumbin, RSPCA Wildlife Hospital at Wacol and Australia Zoo) that cover key areas including the Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast and Brisbane, treating sick, injured and orphaned koalas," the spokesperson said.
"Since 2017 these hospitals have treated more than 2000 koalas.
"The Queensland Government has also allocated $816, 000 over the next two years to refurbish the Moggill Koala Rehabilitation Centre to enhance its capacity as a specialist rehabilitation centre supporting the hospital network.
"There are currently no plans by the Queensland Government to support any additional wildlife hospital facilities within southeast Queensland."
Sick or injured koalas can be reported to RSPCA on 1300 ANIMAL.