Koala drowns in backyard pool, prompting calls for flotation devices to help wildlife – ABC

By February 5, 2019 March 18th, 2019 Archive

ABC Gold Coast                By Elise Kinsella and Bern Young                     04 Feb 2019

PHOTO: Wildlife workers want pool owners to help prevent koalas from drowning. (Supplied: Wildcare Australia)

There are calls for people to leave flotation devices in their backyard pools to save wildlife, after a koala drowned on the Gold Coast.

The female koala was found at the bottom of a family pool at Arundel on Sunday.

Wildcare Australia’s Heidi Cushieri told ABC Radio wildlife often drank water from pools during the summer heat.

She said, while koalas could swim, they struggled to get out of swimming pools.

“It is very hard for them to get over a slippery, tiled edge,” she said.

“They just keep paddling and not being able to get out of the pool.”

The wildlife worker said there were simple things that pool owners could do to help any koalas that fell in.

“The idea is to tie something with a rope, with a flotation device attached,” she said.

Ms Cushieri said another solution could be dog ramps that could be attached to the side of a pool.

“That would be a perfect solution for a koala to swim to that is very sturdy and durable,” she said.

PHOTO: These ramps and ropes can help save koalas and other wildlife. (Supplied: Wildcare Australia)

Ms Cushieri said if residents found a koala that was alive and struggling to swim in a pool, they should find something for it to grab onto.

She said rope, a floating pool toy, or a boogie board could all work.

“Let the koala swim to it and grab onto it,” she said.

Ms Cushieri said people should then have towels ready to protect themselves from koala claws as they helped it from the pool.

Problem across Australia

The Australian Koala Foundation’s Deborah Tabart said the problem was very common in areas close to koala habitats across the country.

She said residents needed to do more to look after wildlife surrounding their houses.

“When you’re in primary habitat and you know there are koalas and their babies around, then anything that is built in there needs to accommodate wildlife,” she said.

“You know, it is not all about us humans.”