Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Orphaned koala blasted with shotgun makes miraculous recovery at Australian animal hospital


You beauty: An Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital member of staff holds Frodo as she recovers from her injuries

It was an act of cruelty that shocked people across the world - a helpless baby koala targeted with a shotgun found next to the body of her mother.

The tiny animal, nicknamed Frodo, received a fractured skull and gun pellets were found scattered throughout her body, damaging her intestines.

But despite her horrendous injuries and the loss of her mother in last month's attack on the Sunshine Coast, north of Brisbane, Australia, Frodo is bouncing back to health.

Staff at Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital found wounds consistent with a shotgun blast spread throughout the youngster's body and initially feared the worst.
A month later and Frodo has made an astonishing return to health.

Leading her care, wildlife vet Dr. Amber Gillett said:'I am very happy with Frodo’s progress; she now weighs a healthy 2.36kg.

'Since being in care at the Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital she has gained 400 grams which is a great indicator of how well she is doing.

'The pellets in her stomach and intestines seem to be moving around but have not been expelled, and may never be.

'I will continue to monitor the lead levels in her blood but so far she does not appear to be affected by lead toxicity.

'Frodo has started growing fur back over her wounds and has a healthy appetite which is brilliant to see considering her condition a month ago.

Improving: The koala has made an amazing improvement in a month after vets feared the worst

Feeling at home: Frodo in a tree, but a date for her return to the wild has yet to be decided on

'At this stage no further surgery will be scheduled. Frodo will have another thorough check up just after Christmas to reassess her lead levels.'

It has not yet been decided when the koala will be released back into the wild, because of concerns over how she would cope without her mother.

A spokesman for the zoo - set up by legendary wildlife television star Steve Irwin - said: 'Frodo has maintained her feisty attitude, active nature and appetite, continuing to move around well in her outdoor enclosure which she shares with other koala joeys.'

Critical condition: Tiny Frodo was blasted from a tree with a shotgun, but survived the attack

Cruel: The koala had 15 pellets embedded in her body but has since made a miraculous recovery

After the attack, Mark Townend, a senior officer with the RSPCA, said his organisation would provide any help needed to search for the culprit and bring cruelty charges.

Outraged Australians have called for the person who shot the koalas to receive the same punishment.

Koalas were declared a protected species in the 1930s, after their numbers fell dramatically due to the fur trade.

Scores of people sent their good wishes to Frodo, saying they hoped she would pull through.

Frodo remains in a critical condition at a wildlife hospital on the Sunshine Coast.
The maximum penalty for shooting a koala is a $225,000 (£140,000) fine or two years in jail.

Tender loving care: Staff at the veterinary hospital gave Frodo intravenous antibiotics, fluids and pain relief, as well as blood transfusions in an attempt to keep her alive

Callous attack: The defenceless animal rests after surgery to remove some of the pellets

source: dailymail

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