Saturday, January 23, 2016

Baby koala recovering after being dropped mid-flight from eagle's talons

A baby koala scooped up in the talons of a wedge-tailed eagle and dropped up to 10 metres to the ground is still recovering more than two months after his ordeal.

The koala, now named Bob, was rescued by two early-morning walkers in late November at Laidley in the Lockyer Valley, to the west of Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, who then sought help from the University of Queensland's (UQ) Small Animal Hospital at Gatton. Bob, who was only eight months old when he was brought in, is now in the hands of a certified carer and edging closer to his release back into the wild.

Associate Professor Dr Bob Doneley, from UQ's avian and exotics team, said he had never seen anything like this case in his 34 years as a practicing vet. "He was very lucky he didn't become the eagle's breakfast," he said. "I've seen a lorikeet that has been rescued from a carpet snake, animals that have been attacked by predators and survived, but I've certainly not seen an animal that has been dropped from mid-air." Dr Doneley said the koala arrived "very depressed and lethargic" .

"He wasn't eating and had several bleeding puncture wounds in his armpit, with a lot of bruising and swelling around them," Dr Doneley said. "X-rays of his chest showed that, while there was some swelling in there, his lungs were intact. We treated him with intravenous fluid, antibiotics and painkillers." Dr Doneley said after a long sleep, Bob woke more responsive and started to eat special critical care formula, and was discharged from hospital to live at the home of the carer. "He's doing very well now and eating by himself," Dr Doneley said.

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