Greenkeeper comes to the aid of thirsty koala on a golf course as hot weather continues
As the hot weather continues, it isn’t only people feeling the effects of the heat.
A golf course greenkeeper has come to the aid of a distressed koala which was spotted sitting still on the ground near sprinklers on one of the greens.
Paul Sirovica said it was about 7:00am when he noticed the koala on the Port Macquarie Golf Course on the New South Wales mid-north coast.
“When a koala is on the ground sitting still, there is usually something wrong, so I went up to see if it was alright, because in that case we ring the Port Macquarie Koala Hospital,” Mr Sirovica said.
“As the sprinkler would pass over the top of him, he was licking the water off his fur, and I thought, ‘Oh, he’s thirsty’.
This koala was given a drink after being seen trying to lick water off its back from the golf course sprinklers. (Supplied: Paul Sirovica)
“So I went and got a drink of water from one of our drinking fountains in a bucket and I sat it down in front of him and he just started drinking it.
“I told the other guys to give him some room and he sat there for about 10 to 15 minutes.
“He would have drunk about an inch and a half out of the bucket and then he went to the nearest tree, into a fork, and went to sleep there for the whole day. He was still there in the afternoon.
“I came back the next morning and he was gone, so he must have been alright.
“He’d been pretty distressed; I’ve never seen one do that before.
“We’ve got a good population of koalas here, and usually when you see them on the ground, they are usually going from one tree to another — to see one sitting there out in the open was quite unusual.”
Koalas suffer heat stress
Koalas normally don’t need to drink much water but can become dehydrated during hot weather. (ABC Mid North Coast: Emma Siossian)
Scott Castle, assistant clinical director at the Port Macquarie Koala Hospital, said koalas suffered from heat stress.
“They do get most of their water from the moisture in leaves, but when it’s hot they do require a bit more, it’s often when you see them coming to ground drinking from sprinklers and gutters,” he said.
“Any extra stress can affect the overall condition of the koala and can exacerbate existing conditions or disease.
“We’ve had heat-stressed koalas recently admitted to the hospital and especially older koalas, who aren’t at the top of their game, can be severely affected.
A koala is cared for at the Port Macquarie Koala Hospital where a number of animals have been treated for heat stress this summer. (ABC Mid North Coast: Emma Siossian)
There are ways to help
Mr Castle said residents could help by leaving water out for koalas, birds and other wildlife.
“For koalas we would advise you put a water container in a fork of a tree if possible. It gets it [the koala] off the ground and they are less susceptible to predation,” he said.
“Also, place a rock or stick inside that container so smaller creatures who might fall in can escape the water.”
Koala numbers are in decline in NSW and Queensland and residents are urged to be on the lookout for any animals needing help. (Supplied: ABC Open contributor Peter Crinion)
Mr Sirovica said it did not take much effort to help an animal in need.
“Everything is suffering through this drought, even the wildlife,” he said.
“If you can, just do a good deed. Everything is doing it tough at the moment.
“Even just keep your birdbaths filled, and think of your own pets, make sure everyone has enough water.”