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 .
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 .