... IFAW is asking the public to make koala mittens from scraps of clean, 100% cotton fabric.
“Maybe you have some old cotton sheets or tea towels – just check that the material is 100% cotton,” Josey Sharrad said. “These mittens are simple to make even if you’ve never sewn before. Just check out IFAW’s koala mitten pattern.”
Send your mittens to IFAW, 6 Belmore Street, Surry Hills 2010 and we will distribute them where they are most needed: to the vets, vet nurses and wildlife careers who help our native wildlife in times of crisis...
Imagine the cry of a baby koala, separated from its mother through the haze of bushfire smoke. Koalas are one of the worst casualties of bushfires. On a normal day, they spend about 18 hours asleep in the fork of a tree and even when fully awake, they are slow-moving creatures with a top speed of only 10 kilometres an hour.
In a fast moving fire front, they are often the first to perish.
Injuries to paws, claws, face and ears are common and tiny joeys can often only wait in burning trees, crying for their mothers. I’ve worked with wildlife rescuers after fires and they tell me about seeing koala babies actually sitting in the trees crying.
It’s so sad...
They just sit there and wait to be rescued. If their paws are burned, they can’t grip and are at risk of falling out of the tree and while koalas can bite and scratch, once rescued, they are really docile creatures who will sit still and let you treat them.
No other species is like that. When we work with other species like possums, they are so frightened, they will actively fight their carers.
We have already seen rescued koalas coming into care in South Australia and Victoria during the recent devastating fires, but the good news is IFAW plans to supply special equipment to vets and wildlife carers who treat koalas.
Koalas with burns to their paws need to have them treated with burn cream and wrapped in bandages. They then need special cotton mittens to cover the dressings. All this needs changing daily so we’re asking if you can help us by sewing koala mittens – as many as they can before the fire season truly hits.
Koalas are often the forgotten victims of bushfires. The few that survive often have terrible burns to their paws and need burns cream applied daily. To protect their paws they need to wear special mittens.