Spotted a koala that appears
sick or injured?

A sleeping koala in the arms of a veterinary

HOW TO IDENTIFY A SICK OR INJURED KOALA

An unwell looking koala

Look for one or more of these signs to identify if a koala is sick or injured:

  1. Dirty bottom
  2. Very skinny
  3. Inflamed, red, puffy, crusty, and/or weeping eyes
  4. Signs of cuts or bleeding
  5. Sitting at the base of a tree or lying on/beside a road

Read more signs

If yes, what you need to do

Step 1: Call your local koala carer, a wildlife rescue near you, or an emergency vet

Aside from the map below, the Department of Environment, Science & Innovation keeps a contact directory here of the SEQ Wildlife Hospital Network, Rehabilitation organisations, and SEQ local governments.

Searches for places in a 40km radius of the centre of the map

Step 2: Care for the sick or injured koala before help arrives

In step 1, your local koala carer, wildlife rescue group or emergency vet would have given you instructions on what to do until they arrive. If not, here are some things you can do while you wait:

A baby koala in a carry cage being transported

IMPORTANT: Ensure your life isn’t in danger. Keep people and dogs away from the koala. Do not allow people to peek at or touch it. Do not try to feed or give the koala water.

When a koala is on the side of a road:

  • Make sure it is safe before you attend to the animal. Stop any traffic if necessary.
  • Approach the animal carefully from behind.
  • Place a sack, blanket, towel or box over the koala, enclosing its arms and head. Remember, the koala is frightened and has very sharp claws, so be careful.
  • Handle the koala as little as possible and keep the environment quiet.

When a koala is on the ground:

  • If it is safe to do so, approach the koala from behind and place a washing basket (or similar item with ventilation) over the koala. Put something heavy on top of the basket to stop the koala moving away and climbing a tree.
  • Ensure the koala is left in a quiet and stress free environment.

When a koala is not moving in a tree:

  • Do not attempt to assist the koala.
  • Keep it safe until help arrives.

Frequently Asked Questions

What do I do if I hit a koala with my car?

If you accidently hit a koala with your car whilst driving on the road, it is important you stop to help them. When it is safe to do so, pull over and thoroughly check your vehicle to ensure the koala has not been caught in the car grills and engine bays. If the road is safe enough for you to do so, move the koala off the road and away from traffic. Immediately contact your nearest wildlife carer. See our map to know who to call in your area.

What do I do if my dog attacked a koala?

In the unfortunate event your dog attacks a koala it is important to act swifty to prevent further injury and help the chances of survival. Start by removing your dog from the site of the attack and securing them out of reach of the koala. Contact your nearest wildlife carer. See our map to know who to call in your area. Whilst you are waiting for help to arrive, it’s important you do not touch the koala. If possible, place a box or similar over the koala to prevent them from running away and keep them calm.

What do I do if I find a dead koala?

If you find a dead koala, although it is too late to do anything to help them, it is important to notify your nearest wildlife carer or organisations. If it is safe to do so, check the pouch if the koala is a female. There may be a joey alive inside which you can help.

How do you rescue a joey from a pouch?

If you find a koala joey inside a deceased mothers pouch it’s important you start by calling nearest wildlife carer for advice. If you’re unable to here are a few steps to remember: Gently stretch open the pouch so you can see inside, using a torch to look right to the bottom. Newborn joeys are smaller than a jellybean so can be hard to see. If the joey is hairless, they may be fused to the mother’s teat, in this case it is best to transport the whole body. If the joey has fur or is obviously no longer attached to the teat, gently remove it from the pouch. Immediately wrap the joey in a towel and keep it warm until it can be safely transported to a wildlife hospital or a koala rehabilitation facility.

How do I know if a koala joey is orphaned?

Koala joeys that are the size of a pineapple or smaller should be always with their mothers. If you do see a koala joey this size or smaller gently, wrap it in a towel and keep it warm until it can be safely transported to a wildlife hospital or a koala rehabilitation facility.

Resources to help protect koalas

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