Tuesday, January 26, 2010
Australia Day 3: Doug's Short Life
The story of Doug's brief life perhaps shows the best and worst of Australia. Doug was a koala joey (baby), and while koalas don't do much, they are quintessentially cute, even to those who don't usually do cute.
Little victim: the koala joey receives medical attention at Australia Zoo (Wildlife Warriors)
Found wounded, on 19 January, sadly Doug was to die on 22nd after a sustained effort to safe his life, and after the vets had expected him to 'make a full recovery'. It appears that a person or persons unknown had decided to shoot Doug (and his mother) with a pellet air rifle.
From the ABC reports; "Animal hospital manager Gail Gipp says the mother is expected to survive."
You would have to go a long way to find something as inoffensive as a one kilogram baby koala. Even the bigger ones (as seen here in a photo by Pam) are very teddy bear like.
Koalas sleep, eat the poisonous leaves of certain gum trees, and are mostly stoned as a result due to the poisons and digestive requirements of eating gum leaves. Not fast movers, the height of a koala's ambition is to find a good nook between branches in a tree, ideally within easy commute of some leaves - and that's it. Hopes had been raised for Doug when one of the vets reported that Doug "was giving me a bit of attitude". They are wild animals and should be treated as such, not teddy bears, despite the cute shiny nose, but they certainly don't deserve to be shot.