Raymond was found last September beside his dead mother, cold, hungry, shocked and grieving. At approximately 220 grams and about 6 inches long, he was handed in to an experienced carer (Sheree Crawford) who was able to stabilise him and start him on the road to recovery before he went to his permanent foster home with a koala carer (Julie Z). There were many potholes and twists and turns on Raymond’s road, but he has hung on and is now a fat, happy and much-loved koala.
In March of this year the future was looking grim for Raymond. He had not put on any weight for 8 weeks so he was not growing, even though he appeared to be happy and well. Feed times were a battle as he had to be coaxed to drink. His foster mum was getting very anxious as some hard decisions would have to be made if he continued to stay the way he was.
Fortunately a little switch clicked on in his brain and overnight he started demanding his bottle and draining it with speed and enthusiasm. All of a sudden gum leaves were of great interest, the more the merrier. Not surprisingly the weight started to pile on, and his energy levels started to rise too. Instead of snoozing in his basket for most of the day, Raymond started climbing on to the handle of his basket & swinging like a monkey.
Now at 2.3kgs he races up and down his climbing trees, as well as thoroughly exploring the house, room by room. You can track his progress by the clicking of his toenails on the wooden floor as well as the little puddles he leaves around. His empire extends to his foster mum’s workplace at Cleveland, where he continues to leave his mark on the office floor as well as on the hearts of the staff. His office days are about to end though, as he is now starting to be weaned from his beloved milk bottle in preparation for release.
Every day chomps his way through an impressive amount of a variety of fresh Eucalypts, his current favourites being spotted gum, scribbly gum, melaleuca and swamp box. His preference for secondary koala food species is a reflection of the area that he originally came from, which is Coominya in the Brisbane Valley, but he also enjoys “town food” like seeana and blue gum.
Raymond’s future is looking promising. His foster mother is convinced that by supplying this small, sad, malnourished joey with warmth, safety, food and lots of TLC his body was able to heal the damage from his past and finally enable him to thrive and grow into a fat, happy koala.
(Both Julie Z and Sheree Crawford are current BAAM employees)
Keep up with Raymond's progress by following the blog at www.baamecology.com