A portable ultrasound machine is now part of in-depth health assessments of wild koalas in the Port Macquarie-Hastings area.
The machine will be used by Koala Hospital staff in remote forest environments, removing the need to sedate and transport koalas.
The new ultrasound is the size of a large laptop and offers all the features that a bigger static clinic machine.
It will enable the hospital to assess all the abdominal organs for evidence of diseases, such as chlamydia which indicate the reproductive health of the koala population, being studied.
It will also be used to also look for any other health issues the koalas may or may not have.
The Koala Hospital is involved in many research projects, some of which include field health assessments of koalas in both the Hastings/Macleay and other local government areas.
Koalas are quietly captured, given a full health screen under anaesthesia in a field clinic and then fitted with a radio tracking collar to follow their movements for up to a year.
The ultrasound unit is being funded by CTK Natural Resources, a local company which is establishing a quarry in Broken Bago State Forest under licence from the Forestry Corporation of NSW.
The quarry will be situated on a recently harvested hardwood plantation land and will contribute a range of quarry products including road base material, concrete aggregates, rail ballast, and aggregates for road sealing.
It’s anticipated, these natural resources will be used in the growth of the Port Macquarie region over the next twenty years.
Bringing these koalas all the way back to the Koala Hospital for assessment is too stressful for them and this is a more efficient way of dealing with them, according to clinical director Cheyne Flanagan.
“As well as for field work, the ultrasound unit will be used for teaching purposes in koala health workshops in both NSW and Victoria,” she said.
“The Koala Hospital greatly appreciates CTK’s financial assistance which has made the purchase of an ultrasound possible”.
Mr Graham Lockett from CTK Natural Resources said the company recognises the importance of protecting environmental attributes and preserving critical fauna habitats while balancing the needs of the growing Australian population.
“We are keen to contribute to the protection and well-being of the local koala population,” she said.
“We recognise the important role played by the Port Macquarie Koala Hospital and note their need for a mobile ultrasound unit to assist their management of koalas in their natural environment.
“To this end, we are very pleased to be able to make a financial contribution to facilitate the acquisition of the ultrasound unit for the hospital.”