For a 9-month-old koala named Shayne, life has not been easy.
In late August, Shayne and his mom were hit by a car in Queensland, Australia. A team of rescuers found his mother dead from the impact of the vehicle, according to an Australia Zoo press release. Shayne, who had been thrown off his mother’s back, was found in a nearby tree.
After the accident, rescuers brought the newly orphaned Shayne to the Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital, where he was given a plush koala to help him acclimate to the hospital and cope with losing his mother.
Though he was physically uninjured, Shayne had no one to teach him how to live in the wild.
“He’s dealing with the loss of his mum and the vital life lessons he needs to learn in order to become an independent, wild koala,” Dr. Rosie Booth, Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital director, said in the release. “It’s very fortunate that we had an observant rescuer who found Shayne and brought him into us. ... He wouldn’t have lasted even a day in the wild by himself.”
Shayne will be fed and attended to by a caregiver until he is older and large enough to fend for himself in the wild. After he learns some vital skills, such as climbing and socializing with other koalas, he’ll be released back into the wilderness.
During Shayne’s most recent checkup on Monday, he had gained weight and was in great health, Australia Zoo spokesperson Elisha Dyck told The Huffington Post.
Sadly, Shayne’s story isn’t uncommon. In Australia’s springtime, what the hospital calls “trauma season,” the wildlife hospital sees at least one koala each day and treats an average of 70 every month.
In addition to numerous koalas, the Australia Zoo treats birds, possums, and flying foxes. “It’s absolutely devastating the kinds of injuries that they face,” Booth said in an Australia Zoo video.
To help prevent koalas and other animals from getting hurt in the wild, Booth said Australians should be mindful and slow down when driving through wildlife habitats, particularly at night.
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