Monday, June 19, 2017


Cutting  edge  device  figures  in   dramatic  Koala  Bear  rescue

After receiving  a  call from two  English    packpackers, Bianca and Nicole ,   that there  was  a Koala   in  trouble  on  the Forts  Walk  , Magnetic Island     ,  wildlife  carer  Linda  Wootten  sprang    into  action .  After  driving  to the  Forts  Walk  parking  area ,  she  grabbed  a   capture  cage  and  the  cover  from a  double  bed mattress  , then   trekked  a  long   way   along  the bush  track    to the  spot   where  the    koala   was  located . It had  a   sore  looking eye and a   wonky  finger  bent  at  a  90 degree angle . Spectators  quickly  grew in  number.

What transpired  eventually attracted  a  crowd of about 20 extremely interested walkers, mostly young English  backpackers and  some street and  road wise  Aussie   grey   nomads  who  stood back  a  safe  distance , knowing it is not wise to mix  it with a  killer  Koala  .  The   Koala   could  not be  coaxed   down   by waving a  piece of tree  branch  above  its  head . A  tall  packpacker   moved in  to  help , but the Koala  went  even  higher on  what was  not  a   thick  tree.

One of the    concerned  onlookers  , another Britisher  , asked  Linda  if she had a  saw . When she replied  that  a  saw  was  not  part of  her usual  Koala rescue  kit , he replied that he  had  one -took out  a  Swiss Army knife  from his backpack , with about a  four inch  blade .  With  this unexpected gadget ,  he began to  cut the  thin  branch  on  which  the now   screaming  Koala   was   attached , indicating  it could  be a  female , as  males   bellow  and   roar , and it began  to  bend .

 At Linda's direction , some  of  the concerned  onlookers   held   the  mattress  cover  , one  of  several donated by the Arcadia Hotel , like  a  blanket  onto  which  the  bear  fell , right in front of  Linda, who  expertly grabbed it  from behind  at  the elbows  so that  it  could  not scratch or bite .

Quick as a  flash , it was  placed in  the cage-to cheers and clapping . Many photos were taken , which probably went  viral . Impressed by the  way Linda handled the rescue, a woman told her she was an amazing person , which she is .  Some  men   carried the  cage   to  Linda's  ute   and   she drove it  to  the   Koala  Bear Hospital   where the   vet   found  it was undernourished  and that  it had a  growth on the  eyelid.  It  would  be  looked   after  until  in   better condition to undergo  operations .

Happy Koala at Queen of Jungle's plantation .
Linda  is a  very  active  member of  the Magnetic Island Fauna Carers Association (MIFCA). She recalled  another  Koala rescue operation in which three  Frenchman  were involved, one badly scratched  by  the marsupial ,  and had to be taken to the clinic . When he emerged   with  many  bandages on his  wounds, his laughing  friends   nevertheless  thought  the  mauling had  been  an  unusual adventure in Australia and  took  numerous  photographs  of  the  victim   to  show  back  home . Unfortunately, there was no island  equivalent  of  the Croix de  Guerre    for bravery against  a large , very grumpy marsupial  to  award  to  the  shredded  like  a   gumleaf  Frenchman .
 In another Koala   episode , workmen with  a  cherry picker   helped capture  one   which  ran  from  tree  to  tree  near  the   car   ferry  ramp .   
   Secretary of the  Magnetic Island branch of the Australian Labor   Party , Linda , at times, brings   to  meetings  a   critter in distress, like this bird, which she   fed    with  raspberries  during  proceedings .