Yani and Yooralla

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Yani and Yooralla came into care late 2009.  Yani was found by himself, at only 368 grams, too small to be on his own and no mother to be seen anywhere. Yooralla’s mother was too sick to care for this little girl and at 230 grams it was a challenge for our carers to raise her.  We can only do our very best.

“YANI” (his name means “peace” in Gubbi Gubbi Aboriginal language)

Yani came into care in October 2009, approx 5 months old, only 386 grams. He was found by himself at the side of a road; his mother was nowhere to be found.  A jogger had noticed him the day before but moved on believing he saw a rat. The next day he noticed the rat again and checked it out, only to find this little koala boy. Yani was exposed to the elements for at least 24 hours – maybe more – and it was a miracle that he was still alive with cars, dogs, cats and raptors around.

From the first day Yani was feeding really well, his only problem might be his sight. At his age he should still have been in mum’s pouch and his exposure to the sun caused an ulceration of his cornea. His eyes were glazy and therefore he was put on antibiotics and eye medication – which he hated…..

After 10 days we teamed him up with Yooralla, and they were enjoying each others company for over two months. When Yooralla died, Yani was unsettled for a few days. We have no doubt these little ones grieve when one is taken away from them.

Four months down the track Yani was a beautiful young boy, very active, very inquisitive, exploring his world around the basket (i.e. our living and kitchen as well) and eating very well. He was nearly 1500 grams when pneumonia hit him. Sometimes they recover and sometimes they don’t.  This happy little man suffered and we tried every medication but unfortunately there was nothing we could do for him. He died on 26th February.

“YOORALLA” (her name means “love” in Gubbi Gubbi Aboriginal language)

This little girl was still in her mother’s pouch when her mother was picked up by rescuers.  She was anemic, covered in ticks and had every koala disease possible.  The hospital’s policy is to try and keep mum alive in order to raise the baby (as we can never do a better job than mum does) but in this case there was no way we could save mum. So it was decided to take Yooralla from the pouch and try to do our very best in raising her.  She was only 230 grams, approx 4 months old and would normally spend another 2 months in mum’s pouch.

Yooralla was a difficult feeder, sometimes she loved her bottle, other times she didn’t want it. We fed her pap when she was ready for it and she seemed to like that. She was slowly but surely gaining weight, but she had a few health issues which is not surprising considering all her mothers health problems. We were trying our very best and we could only hope that would be good enough.

She was living in the basket together with Yani who was very protective of her. In December she started to explore her little world outside the pouch and with Yani setting the example we were confident Yooralla would follow suit.

In the first week of January her feeding problems started again and no matter what we tried, she was not feeling well. We gave her pain relief as it was clear that she was not a happy little koala. Then one morning the vets decided to do some exploratory surgery to see why her body was reacting the way it was. We gave her a general anaesthetic and put an IV drip in her little arm.  Then she stopped breathing….. we tried mouth to nose, CPR and adrenaline, but Yooralla had given up.

Necropsy revealed that she had a necrotic lesion in her caecum. This is something we could have found with surgery, but would we have been able to save her life?  We don’t know as she was still such a little girl weighing only 500 grams. In a very weird way the knowledge of what was wrong with her, made her death easier to accept because at least she was not suffering anymore.