Ballarat Wildlife Park is looking for gum leaves to help feed its expanding brood of koalas.
The unusually dry summer conditions have meant the usual harvesting trees do not have enough healthy leaves to feed the marsupials, which are among the most popular attraction at the park.
With more than 20 koalas - and new additions imminent due to a successful breeding program - the park now needs donors to help with the shortage.
They made the call yesterday [February 20] for people in the Ballarat area with large properties containing eucalyptus trees who would be willing to give staff access to their grounds.
These guys are too unique and too beautiful to lose. Thanks for your support!Ballarat Wildlife Park
Staff are looking for trees that are aged three years where the lower lying leaves could be harvested. At this stage they are not looking for a particular species.
According to the Australian Wildlife Foundation, adult koalas can have a prodigious appetite for gum leaves, consuming up to 500g a day.
The diet would be poisonous to most animals, but the koalas’ digestive systems is specially adapted to detoxify the poisonous chemicals in the leaves.
A couple of years ago, the park took in several new additions to its koala enclosure when it hand-raised eight animals that were orphaned in the wild due to habitat loss.
A Facebook post reads: “These guys are too unique and too beautiful to lose. Thanks for your support!”
If you are able to help, please phone Darren Gray of Ballarat Wildlife Park on 0411 376 615.
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