Month-long mission for one sick Coast Koala
WHEN Bernard Jean noticed a Noosa National Park koala was showing signs of illness, he made it his mission to see his fuzzy friend caught and treated.
That meant traversing the National Park trails almost every day for a month, hoping to find 'Hilaire' in a spot convenient for professionals to rescue him.
"On the 24th of June, I saw he had a very brown bottom, which is a sign of cystitis and chlamydia," Mr Jean said.
"About two weeks ago he was not so high and we had the Australia Zoo team, they managed to get him down to about 4m high, but he jumped on to another branch and he took off up to the top of the tree.
"I went almost every day to look for him. On Monday (July 24) I saw he was in the perfect spot.
"I called some of our rescuers, a tree climber, he did a wonderful job.
"He managed to get him quite easily, within a half hour. I was relieved."
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Mr Jean, the administrator of Facebook page Noosa Koala Sightings and member of Queensland Koala Crusaders, said watching the Noosa National Park koala population decimate in recent years has made trying to save sick koalas even more important.
"About three years ago I counted about 17 koalas, and now if there are about half a dozen, that would be the most we have," Mr Jean said.
"The earlier we take them, and get them treated, the best chance they have.
"They need us. We need to be a force for them. We love them."
Street poll: Have you ever seen a koala in Noosa?
Hilaire is now being treated at a wildlife clinic and they hope to release him back in to the national park in about five weeks.
"He's about 6.6 kilos in weight and four years of age. He is a koala that is very worth saving and treating and bringing him back to the park," Mr Jean said.
"I'll be glad to be there to release him. They're getting so scarce in the park.
"There is another female (koala) at the Laguna Lookout, Isabella, she's got something. It's early but it needs to be checked.
"A healthy one (koala) in the park, it's very hard to see one."
The public are encouraged to report sightings of koalas at facebook.com/NoosaKoalaSightings and donate at queenslandkoalacrusaders.org.au.