THE KOALAS of Ipswich are even safer hands after the Ipswich Koala Protection Society took possession of a new ambulance yesterday.
Ipswich City Council has donated one of its fleet vehicles, decked out in koala graphics and all the numbers for the public to call, after the society's two wildlife ambulance vehicles broke down late last year.
Ipswich Koala Protection Society carer and rescuer Maureen Hall said the vehicle would enable the society to attend to injured, sick and orphaned koalas more promptly.
"Having a reliable and safer vehicle will mean we can get out to the koalas a lot quicker and further for more rescues and get the animal a lot quicker to care," she said.
"The ambulance is very bright and it is great to let the public know that there are people out there rescuing injured koalas 24/7.
"The council has donated this vehicle to us and we are over the moon. It is a beautiful council in the way that they have gone out of their way to assist us to help the koalas."
The society does have a Facebook page and the mobile numbers are clearly displayed on the side of the ambulance as numbers for the public to call if they come across an injured koala.
Ms Hall said it was not advisable for the public to pick up an injured koala, but did explain what they should do before calling the society.
"If they can put a washing basket or something like that over the injured koala, and then put something heavy on the basket to stop the koala getting out," she said.
"Then ring us and we will be there ASAP. But don't pick it up because you could get scratched or bitten very badly."
Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale said he had made a promise to the society to provide a new ambulance.
"What people don't realise is that our koala population is growing because of the partnership we have with the Ipswich Koala Protection Society," he said.
"People know that I am passionate about development but what we have done with the environment is second to none.
"There wouldn't be a city in Australia that is both in the top 20 for growth and has their (koala) population growing. That is a real feather in our cap, and shows you can do both.
"This ambulance looks good driving around, shows people what we stand for and has all the numbers for the public to call the Ipswich Koala Protection Society so they can rescue sick, injured and orphaned wildlife.
"The most important thing for me is that my kids and grand kids can still see koalas."
The Ipswich Koala Protection Society rescues more than 180 koalas a year as well as other native wildlife. Ms Hall said she had a call-out to pick up a koala at Aratula on Sunday while another carer had two call-outs on the same day.
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