Tuesday, 17 July 2018

Operation Koala at Bargo by Pamela King.

Flowers
The night was still, the Milky Way glistened and sparkled but there was a chill in the air. The dingoes were restless.

Those living in the house, Merri, Flowers and Napoleon, repeatedly rose from the comfort of their arm chairs to go out and check the fence lines. The family’s investigation revealed nothing unusual and everyone settled for the night.

At midnight, savage snarls and spitting of a large animal rent the air. Merri whimpered at the door.

A dingo screeched. Someone screamed, “It’s got Flowers". Clad only in my night dress and grabbing a torch, Berenice rushed out into the night to save poor Flowers. Her son Ken grabbed a shot gun and thundered behind her.

Vicious snarling echoed from the other side of the fence. Something was savagely attacking Flowers. Merri joined her. Both courageously tried to fight off the intruder.



Who or what was it and why was it attacking the Dingoes?

A frenzy of fury resulted in a loud crash against the fence. Then, quiet, as the animal disappeared into the long grass.

Flashing the torch, Berenice first checked Flowers and Merri were unharmed. Looking around she was amazed to see an indignant Koala preparing for another onslaught.

Crash, as he flung himself at the fence screaming once again.

Despite living in the bush for thirty years they had no idea how to handle the situation. For some inexplicable reason the koala seemed intent on getting into the dingo yards to attack them. Berenice and Ken stayed calm and carefully guided him up a nearby tree.

When he seemed content and not intending to continue his attacks everyone retired back to bed. Peace reigned. Checking the situation early the next morning they discovered him back on the ground, running along the fence and still trying to get to the dingoes.

The National Parks and Wildlife Service were contacted and guaranteed to collect the trespasser the same day. There was just one condition, he had to be confined.

By now he was back up his tree, staring down nonchalantly at the steady stream of admiring neighbours gathering to see him.

They were told koalas are easy to handle; if you know how. One neighbour brought a collection of gum leaves for his breakfast, and he appeared content.

Another neighbour, reading from a book on caring for koalas, assured Ken he would not attack.  Not taking any risks, and determined to catch him without injury, Ken bound his arms with bags, reached up into the tree, then gently lifted him down.

The Koala had not read the book. He suddenly sprang into action, flipped right over and sunk all fours into Kens arms, all the time screaming furiously. Everyone watching collapsed into a heap laughing. Ken finally herded the visitor into a large dog crate where he settled down to finish his gum leaves in peace. During the afternoon a helicopter arrived to collect the koala.

For all the drama and minor injuries, Berenice felt proud to have had this unique native animal residing in her trees but knew his welfare could only be assured in the hands of those who understood the animal.

He was probably a victim of progress. At the time the M5 was being cut through local bushland, and many native animals had their habitat destroyed, or at the least, disturbed. 


The Walters and their neighbours had seen small mobs of wallabies making their appearance and were delighted to catch glimpses of the graceful members of our native fauna. The previous dingo breeding season, they had even heard the far off call of a wild Dingo from the distant gorges.

But with miles of bushland around them, she wondered why that Koala wanted so desperately to get into the house yard. Out of loneliness? Or did he seek the company of another animal he recognised as native?

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