02 Jun Gentle Ben
Gentle Ben was one of the few Koalas that we managed to retrieve from the Budj Bum fires. Ben was found on the ground amongst the ashes on 16th January 2020. We scooped him up and brought him back to Mosswood Wildlife where he was seen by a vet and treated for burns and severe dehydration. Gentle Ben responded so well to treatment we were hopeful he would make a recovery. Sadly he developed a massive infection that despite treatment he was unable to recover from and the tough decision was made to euthanize him to prevent further suffering. He had suffered enough.
Untold numbers of Koalas were unable to be retrieved due to restrictions from the authorising body in relation to tree climbing on fire grounds.
Because of the sensitive nature of the Budj Bum fires – it was extremely dangerous, very difficult terrain with very tall trees – the authorities would not let groups of people in for search and rescue. I was asked to accompany DELWP Wildlife officers on numerous occasions over a two week period. This required travelling large distances and long days on the fire grounds. Food drops were undertaken for Koalas. Sadly many Koalas remained in trees with no live canopy left and some still remained in the same place weeks later. Budj Bum was a UNESCO listed site which further hampered recovered attempts.