9 September 2016
After garnering worldwide attention when images were released of her different coloured eyes, Bowie the koala has now been released back to the wild near Brendale in Queensland, where she was originally found.
Bowie was hit by a car and taken to the Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital for immediate treatment. While her examination revealed that she escaped major injury, it also revealed something extremely special about her. Bowie has ‘heterochromia'; an extremely rare genetic condition in koalas that causes their eyes to be two entirely different colours.
During her initial examination, Bowie was also found to have a mild case of Chlamydia. After two months at the Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital, Bowie recovered from both her trauma injuries and cystitis, and was ready to go back to her natural home.
Getting her bearings at first and then climbing swiftly up the tree, Bowie was very eager to check out her surroundings and settle back into life in the wild.
Richard Jackson from the Australia Zoo Rescue Unit was one of Bowie's rescuers and most recently, he also had the privilege of releasing her back to the bush.
"It only took one look at Bowie to realise how special she is; what's even more special though is the fact that she gets to go back out into the wild a healthy koala who can contribute to the declining south east Queensland koala population" said Richard.
Bowie's eye colouration is the result of a recessive gene inherited from her parents affecting the pigmentation in her iris. As a result, her right eye is bright blue while her left eye is a more common brown.
Even from high in the treetops, Bowie's blue eye was clearly seen; shining even brighter than ever before with a glimmer of hope for the future ahead of her.
With trauma season upon us, Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital staff are already starting to see an influx of koala admissions. At this time of year, individuals are moving around more, either looking for a mate or dispersing from their mother's territory. This unfortunately leaves them more susceptible to conflict with cars or domestic animals as they traverse across the ground, therefore resulting in admission to the Wildlife Hospital.
With over 100 koalas in care at any one time during busy seasons and an average of 70 - 80 koalas coming through the hospital every month, our work has never been more important!
Koala treatment can cost up to $5,000 per koala. Every donation goes a long way towards helping the Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital save lives and create positive outcomes for patients just like Bowie. To donate or learn more, go to: www.wildlifewarriors.org.au
0 Zoo Comments