Hello Koala, Scoop, found near airport

Spotted him: Tony Maurer found Scoop, the Port News koala. 
Spotted him: Tony Maurer found Scoop, the Port News koala. Pic: PETER GLEESON

PORT Macquarie's search for its missing koala has finally come to an end.

Scoop, the Port News sculpture from the iconic Hello Koalas tourist trail, has been found, after a high and low search for him.

Divers scoured the Hastings River near Lady Nelson Wharf, where Scoop went missing, but he was eventually found by a skydiver.

He was picked up near Port Macquarie Airport by Coastal Skydivers owner Tony Maurer.

Mr Maurer was on his way to the landing area to pick up a crew when he spotted Scoop in the bushes.

He stopped to pick him up on the return journey.

"I just saw it there," he said.

"It was so bright, and the rest of the area was green.

"I thought 'oh, it's a koala'.

"I rang the groundsman and said 'I've got a bear'."

He didn't like the term "hero", even though there are plenty of people pleased to see Scoop's return.

"How about someone who cares," he said.

"Otherwise, I would have driven straight past it."

Arts and Health NSW executive director Margret Meagher was thrilled to know Scoop had been found.

She said it was "exceptionally good news", after initially being surprised to hear he'd been found.

"It's massively exciting today," Mrs Meagher said.

"I was pleased to be able to ring the police and close the file."

Mrs Meagher picked Scoop up yesterday.

She paid tribute to the Port Macquarie community for its help in getting him back.

Artist Rebekah Brown designed Scoop.

He will now take up residence at the Port News office as a cub reporter.

Meanwhile, Mr Maurer is approaching his 9000th jump.

He has been in the game since 1983, and modestly played down the tally.

"It's not a huge number, but it's up there," he said.

Other visitors to the airport are more disturbing, like the kangaroos who occasionally try to attack the jumpers when they land.

"The bright colours must startle them," Mr Maurer said.


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