Community to the rescue

Community to the rescue

It was one of those surreal Adelaide heatwaves, with temperatures soaring above 38 degrees (100 Fahrenheit) for days on end. Even the dog oval – normally bearable with evening gully breezes – was covered in a thick blanket of heat so oppressive that panting dogs were strewn on the grass rather than engaging in their normal vigorous play.

Except for one dog, poised excitedly beneath a tree at the oval’s edge, looking up.

On closer inspection we found a little koala wedged in the fork of the tree. The only sign of life was his eyes following us; he looked parched. A couple of people rushed over to fill the ice-cream container that served as a water bowl for the dogs while others searched for something to stand on. I called fauna rescue.

A yellow wheelie bin materialised, and my husband Rob carefully mounted it while we stabilised it. He raised the water container up as far as he could, just within the koala’s reach. It leaned across and started drinking… and kept drinking. When Rob couldn’t hold his arm up any more he lowered it.

The koala watched with dismay. So Rob reached the bowl up again and the koala stretched his arm out to hold it as he kept drinking.

Later that night I got a call from fauna rescue volunteers, trying to find the koala. Following my directions, they finally spotted him with their torches and described how they immediately sprayed him gently with water and organised a stable water container replete with eucalyptus leaves for him to tuck into for energy.

A few days later we were back in the park – a nice cool evening. I spotted the koala perched way up high in the tree, silhouetted against the sky amongst the branches, happily munching on their leaves.


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