The cute koala joey, who surprised police when he popped his head out of a lady’s bag as she was being searched in Brisbane last weekend, is doing really well.
Alfred was promptly taken off the woman in Wishart and is now being looked after by a licenced wildlife care group and an experienced koala carer.
On Saturday Environment Minister Dr Steven Miles spent some time getting to know the popular joey at the Moggill Koala Hospital.
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Dr Miles also met with Senior Constable Rio Law, the police officer who located Alfred, and his new carer Trudi Timbs, of the Ipswich Koala Protection Society.
“Koalas are now listed as vulnerable through the state and as Minister responsible for their welfare I just couldn’t resist the opportunity to visit young Alfred and thank Rio, Trudi and the Ipswich Koala Protection Society for their assistance in getting him back on the road to recovery,” Dr Miles said.
“Alfred is about twelve months’ old and weighed around 1.5 kilograms when he was found, and his welfare is very important to us.
“He is progressing well, has no obvious injury or signs of disease, has gained a little weight in his first week in care and is responding to lots of ‘TLC’.
“He needs time to rest so that he can make a full recovery and after that he’ll be returned into the wild.
“Lots of people will ask when that will be, and we can’t say for sure.
“We will ensure he’s fully fit before releasing him, and we also know he can’t be kept in care too long, in case it works against him fending for himself when back in his natural habitat,” Dr Miles said.
President of the Ipswich Koala Protection Society, Ms Ruth Lewis, said the society had more than 22 years’ experience in receiving, caring for and rehabilitating koalas.
“Our volunteers are dedicated to the rescue and release of sick, injured and orphaned koalas like Alfred,” Ms Lewis said.
Snr Constable Law, from the Upper Mount Gravatt Tactical Crime Squad, said she was relieved the joey was now in good hands.
“It was such a surprise to find him we didn’t quite believe it when the woman told us she had a koala in the bag,” Snr Constable Law said.
“I’m just happy that there is someone taking good care of him now and preparing for his return to his proper environment.”
Dr Miles said the Palaszczuk Government was committed to ensuring viable and healthy koala populations across the state.
“There’s now an additional $12 million to boost koala conservation measures and improve population surveys over the next four years, and a further $2.6 million per annum for ongoing funding for koala protection,” he said.
“Our recent koala initiatives include a review of our koala programs to make sure they continue to protect this iconic species,” Dr Miles said.
The Department of Environment and Heritage Protection (EHP) operates a service and facility for the care of koalas in south-east Queensland.
The Daisy Hill Koala Centre is a dedicated koala education facility and the Moggill Koala Hospital is run by the department for the rehabilitation of sick, injured and orphaned koalas.
Anyone finding an injured sick or orphaned koala should report this as soon as possible on 1300 ANIMAL (1300 264 625).
Further information on the Queensland Government’s koala care and conservation initiatives is available here.