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Malani's Koala Family Adventures - April 2024

We have made it to Victoria. Our first stop Cobram.

What a wonderful place to explore. Cobram is right on the Murray River and koalas seem abundant in this region!

Here we free camped at The Big Strawberry in Koonoomoo and enjoyed a delicious, cooked breakfast each morning before we headed off to explore.

At the time of visiting, the Murray River was flooding, so some of the places we had intended to explore were inaccessible. This definitely did not leave us short of spotting koalas though!

Our first stop was Quinn Island, part of Cobram Regional Park. It’s a beautiful 2.4km walk along the Murray River to Cobrooga Beach and looping back around. The trail starts with a bridge over Scott’s Creek which separates Quinn Island. The walk was full of River Red gums which happen to be the favourite food of koalas in this area. I’m delighted to report, that I spotted 7 koalas on this short walk, and was really surprised to see 3 of these koalas (a male, female and joey) all located together in one small tree at the beginning of the walk. I had thought female koalas rarely shared the same tree, let only with a male.

On day 2, we headed to Thompsons Beach at Kennedy Park in Cobram. The flooding of the Murray River was noticeable here. Picnic tables, road signs, car parks, and trees were under water. I was concerned that koalas may be stranded in the beautiful River Red gums along the banks of the river. I searched the area long and hard, and it turns out that the 4 koalas I found were all sensibly resting in trees on land.

Later I learned from Kylee at Dutch Thunder Wildlife Shelter & Rescue, that koalas CAN swim if they need to! I didn’t need to be concerned about them getting stuck in trees during the floods after all. How good is that? These grey balls of fur are full of surprises!!!

While real koalas are the highlight of any day, I also really enjoyed exploring the town of Cobram as part of their Koala Hunt Trail. Scattered around the town, painted on the doors of participating shops, were little koalas waiting to be found. Each one uniquely designed to represent the business. I think I spotted about 20 koalas in the end, though I can’t add these guys to my koala tally. Whilst I had lots of fun on the Koala Hunt, the thing I liked best of all, was the businesses involved pay for these little koalas and proceeds go to support Dutch Thunder Wildlife Shelter! Isn't that a fabulous idea?

And finally, I’d like to share my most exciting day yet. I had the opportunity to volunteer at Dutch Thunder Wildlife Shelter, in Koonoomoo. At first, I was invited to come help clean out the koala enclosure and that alone would have been a highlight because koalas poo so much and it smells so good, but Kylee could see my enthusiasm and willingness to work hard, so she took me under her wing and spent the whole day teaching me things. I got to go out in the bush buggy and collect browse for the koalas, feed the baby squirrel glider by syringing its milk into a teaspoon, feed the joey kangaroos their milk bottles whilst they snuggled in their material pouches, unload big bags of kangaroo fed and hang up loads of washing (wildlife are messy creatures!). I even got to help treat an injured koalas’ hand by spraying pink smelly stuff on it!

Kylee also spent time showing me through her education trailer and taught me many things but the most helpful knowledge I walked away with was, 'how to do a pouch check' and rescue an orphaned joey. Thanks to Kylee, we now have a Wildlife Rescue Kit in the van and feel equipped to pull over for injured wildlife on the side of the road when it is safe to do so.

I am so blown away by the work that is done at Dutch Thunder Wildlife Shelter. Kylee looks after over 70 animals in her home by herself during the day and with the help of her husband when he finishes work. She also regularly gets called out to do wildlife rescues. Her work continues day and night, on public holidays and weekends. She does not get paid to do what she does, and is responsible to financially support the needs of all these animals, which can be very expensive. Her dedication and love for wildlife is obvious.

Without a doubt, Kylee is a true wildlife hero, and I am determined to do what I can to support her. I decided I wanted to donate $100 of my own money to contribute. It’s not much but my mum decided to match it, so I was able to donate $200 in total. I also have a GoFundMe campaign running for my ‘No Present Birthday!’. I’ll be turning 9 very soon. To celebrate, you can donate or share my campaign with others. All proceeds go to Dutch Thunder Wildlife Shelter. Every little bit helps!

Click to donate and help Malani celebrate her ninth birthday

Cobram is definitely an area worth visiting if you want to hang with koalas! The flooding prevented us from visiting Ulupna Island, another koala hotspot about 20 minutes from Cobram. Although I was disappointed about this, I do have a good excuse to come back and visit. And I plan on spending a lot more time helping Kylee from Dutch Thunder Wildlife Shelter and learning all I can to care for koalas and other injured wildlife in need.

Thanks to Cobram, I have spotted another 11 koalas to add to my Wild Koala Tally. That now makes a total of 20!

In next month’s newsletter, we will head further south towards Portland and then start heading east along Victoria’s coastline.

You can follow the journey on Instagram here

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  • Murray Munro
    published this page in News and Events 2024-04-24 08:37:59 +1000