Published: Tuesday, March 13, 2018
Pam and Hartley Head have been caring for orphaned and injured koalas with South Australia’s Fauna Rescue service since easing into retirement almost five years ago.
Some of the little bundles that arrive at their door can be as small as 365g. That’s about how big Flicker was when she arrived at the Head residence after her mother was killed by a car at Kangarilla.
Here, the couple takes us through what to do (and what not to do) if you see a koala on the road while driving.
DON’T swerve off the road
Hope the koala gets out of your way safely, but don’t risk your own safety by swerving suddenly to avoid it. In this situation, always put yourself and other motorists first.
DO pull over when safe to do so
If you have unfortunately hit an animal, get your car and yourself to the side of the road safely. Once you’ve pulled over, turn on your hazard lights to alert other motorists.
DON’T approach an injured koala
They look friendly and cuddly, but if you’ve ever seen a koala up close you’ll know they have sharp claws and teeth. Drop bears may be a myth but they are founded in a tendril of truth – koalas can do damage, especially if they’re scared.
DO call for help
Once you’re in a safe place, call Fauna Rescue’s koala hotline, 1300 KOALAS (562 527). If you’re in a high traffic area, the hotline can arrange for police or traffic management crews to arrive until they can get the animal into care. They should also be able to advise you on what you can do from there.