ORPHANED: Franky the koala after undergoing an operation at the Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital.
ORPHANED: Franky the koala after undergoing an operation at the Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital. Ben Beaden

‘Trauma season’ for wildlife with animals on the move

THIS orphaned seven-month-old koala is a sign of things to come for the Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital.

Franky and her mother were hit by a car at Carindale, in Brisbane's south, about a month ago.

The collision killed her mother.

Franky underwent surgery at the hospital for a fractured leg and is being looked after by a wildlife carer.

The hospital has braced itself after a busy start to what staff call "trauma season" - August to February.

Sixty-seven koalas were admitted to the hospital in August alone.

Wildlife veterinarian Doctor Amber Gillett said the warmer months brought an influx of injured animals to the hospital.

Dr Gillett said animals tended to be on the move looking for mates and coming out of hibernation at the same time as people were becoming more active and starting holidays.

"That leads to a large number of conflicts between humans and animals, but also our domestic pets are attacking animals that are in the garden or are free roaming."

Dr Gillett said more than half of all admissions to the hospital were animals that had been struck by vehicles.

Attacks by dogs and other animals were the next major cause of admissions, she said.

Dr Gillett urged motorists to be cautious when driving through wildlife habitat areas.

"If we use koalas as an example, there's certainly good evidence that there's less risk of trauma to a koala if they (the motorists) are going slower."

Dr Gillett asked homeowners to keep cats inside and dogs contained or tied up.

"Free-roaming pets cause injuries to not just wildlife but other pets," she said.

She urged anyone who found an injured native animal to call the Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital on 1300 369 652 or a wildlife carer.

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