Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Koala stolen from Australian Reptile Park, later found dumped in car park

BANJO the stolen koala has been found dumped in the car park of the Australian Reptile Park.
An anonymous caller rang the park about 2pm and told the girl on reception the koala was in the car park.

Keepers rushed out to find the 13-year-old koala in a plastic waste bin with a milk crate over the top of him.

Head keeper Tim Faulkner said banjo was recovered in fairly good condition.

He is slightly dehydrated and is currently being administered fluids.
The 13-year-old named Banjo was off display when he was stolen from an enclosure at the Somersby park near Gosford some time Monday night.

General manager Mary Rayner said the targeted theft was ``very distressing'' and no other animals were taken.

``We were giving him a supplementary paste and it's his first winter in NSW,'' Ms Rayner said.

``We are also concerned that he receives the right eucalyptus leaves because some eucalypts can be quite poisonous to koalas.''

Banjo is considered elderly by koala standards with a life expectancy in the wild of about 10 years and 15 in captivity.

The Reptile Park acquired him from a zoo on the Gold Coast early this year to increase the genetic diversity of its breeding program.

Koalas stress easily and can take a long time to adjust to new surroundings.

Ms Rayner said he had lost some weight during the move so keepers were supplementing his diet of leaves with the special paste.

``We were hoping to get Banjo's weight back up before winter,'' she said.

``He was in his own enclosure because we were concerned about him and we wanted him to get used to his new home before we introduced him to any females.''

Banjo sired two joeys in Queensland last year and Ms Rayner said the park was planning to keep him for its breeding program rather than putting him on public display.

``We're all scratching our heads, to the best of our knowledge it's the first time a koala has been stolen from a zoo in Australia,'' she said.

No comments:

Post a Comment