Young Hilda back on her feet after battle with infection
WILDLIFE carer Natalie Richardson says juvenile koala Hilda is "lucky to be alive", after recovering from severe conjunctivitis, cystitis and chlamydia.
The two-year-old marsupial was released back into the wild on Saturday, after spending six months in care at Australia Zoo.
Ms Richardson said Hilda was found close to starvation, with her eyes "glued shut" from infection.
"When she was found, she was only a back-riding baby, just becoming independent, we saw she was quite sick," Ms Richardson said.
Hilda was treated with antibiotics while at the zoo, and stayed in captivity until she was strong enough to be released back into the Tinana South area where she was found.
Ms Richardson said Hilda was one of the lucky koalas to survive after getting so sick.
"About 80% of the koalas we see show signs of being sick," she said.
"Conjunctivitis left untreated can kill them; because they're blind, they're more susceptible to predation, it affects smell so they starve, and it causes pneumonia.
"That is why it's really important for people to report all koalas, sick and healthy, so we can observe them and help them if we need to."