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Kangaroo Island Plantation Timbers assists koala rescue efforts after devastating bushfires

The company has provided access to unburnt compartments for rescuers to release koalas and is supporting the collection of food.

Kangaroo Island Plantation Timbers Ltd - Kangaroo Island Plantation Timbers assists koala rescue efforts after devastating bushfires
Jim, Shane and Bronte collect browse for Hanson Bay Wildlife Sanctuary koalas

Kangaroo Island Plantation Timbers Ltd (ASX:KPT) is playing its part in koala rescue and rehabilitation efforts after the large population on Kangaroo Island was decimated by the 2019-20 bushfires.

The plight of the island's koalas affected in the bushfires has drawn international attention and many groups and volunteers have come to Kangaroo Island to help rescue stranded or injured koalas.

Previous estimates suggested the island was host to about 50,000 koalas, which were introduced to the island a century ago, and perhaps half of them had made their home in bluegum plantations.

Population decimated

After the fires, which destroyed about 15,000 hectares of bluegums on KPT land and on private land, as well as tens of thousands of hectares of native vegetation, the koala population has been estimated at 5000 to 10,000.

KPT has provided access to its plantations for rescuers from the Kangaroo Island Wildlife Network, Kangaroo Island Wildlife Park, Humane Society International, Hanson Bay Wildlife Sanctuary and others.

The company has permitted access to unburnt compartments in the Kellendale and Cronin plantations for rescuers to release koalas.

Collection of food

KPT has also encouraged the collection of food for the rescued koalas that are being nursed at the KI Wildlife Park, including from the epicormic growth at the two plantations that suffered a fire in December 2018.

Jim Geddes from Hanson Bay Wildlife Sanctuary said access to the plantations for food had been a “godsend” as he and others begin the process of rebuilding the sanctuary, which was destroyed in the fires.

“Thank you very much for the generosity and flexibility over the last two months. It has been a lifesaver for us,” he said.

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