Hermie’s long journey home

The koala, fondly named 'Hermie', was delivered to the BP garage at Goomeri. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

By Neesha Sinnya

When Hermie the koala was struck by a car on the Goomeri to Murgon Road, the odds weren’t in his favour, however, the community rallied together in a mission to ‘bring Hermie home.’

The power of social media, community spirit, and a bunch of passionate animal lovers helped to bring the injured native Australian animal home.

The koala was hit on 24 February and transported to the Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital the following day.

A few months in and Hermie is still recovering from his injuries at the wildlife hospital and awaiting test results, but things are looking promising for him to return home to the South Burnett soon.

When Hermie was struck, the concerned driver dropped him at a Goomeri BP garage, the koala was then taken to Kilkivan Wildlife Rescue and finally to Australia Zoo.

The challenge was to find where exactly was home for the koala, as it is important to return injured animals back to their habitat.

A number of people are responsible for Hermie’s recovery, including public relations officer for Gympie Koala Action Michelle Daly.

“The young man who hit Hermies should have made a call to a wildlife centre directly, the quicker they can get to the hospital the better,” Ms Daly said.

Kayleen England from Wildlife Rescue South Burnett Incorporation said that it was great the young man helped the koala but with better education, people can be better equipped to help injured animals in the future.

“As he was driving to Noosa, he could have taken the koala straight through to the RSPCA Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre at Eumundi, for immediate assessment. Any koala hit by a car needs urgent veterinary assistance,” Ms England said.

“Injuries are often not evident, but most koalas that survive a road strike have severe injuries such as broken limbs, head trauma, and internal injuries.”

This is the recommended protocol around rescuing injured or dead animals on the highway:

– It is important that all dead koalas (or animals) are reported and checked

– If you can do so, safely stop and check for the pouch, joey, ear tag, and try to move the animal off the road

– Take a photo and note the exact location with something bright so that wildlife groups can find it easily, in some cases the body could be delivered to a wildlife rescue group or to a vet surgery.

– With a growing call for rescues in the area, Wildlife Rescue South Burnett decided to create the ‘Wildlife Rescue South Burnett Transport Help’ page for the purpose of helping injured animals get care efficiently.

Through Facebook sharing, Hermie’s home was located and he now has a loyal army of supporters who are committed to bringing the animal home safely.

“It has been heartening to see the concern and response with numerous (Facebook) shares,” Ms Daly said.

Lesley from the BP garage in Goomeri found that the driver came from Noosa so she shared it to the Noosa Community Facebook page, eventually the post about bringing Hermie home was shared to the South Burnett Community Page.

Hermie should be ready to return home soon.