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The Rescue and Rehabilitation of Koalas (Phascolarctos cinereus) in Southeast Queensland

Emily Burton 1 and Andrew Tribe 2,*

1 School of Agriculture and Food Sciences, University of Queensland, Gatton QLD 4343, Australia

2 The Gainsdale Group, P.O. Box 108, Fortitude Valley, Brisbane QLD 4006, Australia * Correspondence: ; Tel.: +61-4-0024-0135 

ABSTRACT

Little is understood about the overall success of current wildlife rehabilitation techniques and the implications of these as an effective conservation strategy. This study collated admission records from four major wildlife hospitals catering to sick and injured koalas across southeast Queensland from 2009 to 2014, and analyzed specific factors that may be important when quantifying the extent and effectiveness of this work. The study found koalas to be at an increased risk from urbanization and human disturbance, that various rehabilitation techniques are employed amongst the four wildlife hospitals, and that a majority of koalas are either euthanized or die whilst in care rather than being released back to the wild. These results provide an interesting insight into current koala rehabilitation practices and have important implications for further research to better understand the practice of rescue and rehabilitation as an effective conservation strategy for this species.