It was an act of cruelty that shocked people across the world - a helpless baby koala targeted with a shotgun found next to the body of her mother.
The tiny animal, nicknamed Frodo, received a fractured skull and gun pellets were found scattered throughout her body, damaging her intestines. But despite her horrendous injuries and the loss of her mother in last month’s attack on the Sunshine Coast, north of Brisbane, Australia, Frodo is bouncing back to health.
Staff at Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital found wounds consistent with a shotgun blast spread throughout the youngster’s body and initially feared the worst.A month later and Frodo has made an astonishing return to health. Leading her care, wildlife vet Dr. Amber Gillett said:’I am very happy with Frodo’s progress; she now weighs a healthy 2.36kg. ’Since being in care at the Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital she has gained 400 grams which is a great indicator of how well she is doing. ’The pellets in her stomach and intestines seem to be moving around but have not been expelled, and may never be. ’I will continue to monitor the lead levels in her blood but so far she does not appear to be affected by lead toxicity.
Koalas were declared a protected species in the 1930s, after their numbers fell dramatically due to the fur trade. Scores of people sent their good wishes to Frodo, saying they hoped she would pull through. Frodo remains in a critical condition at a wildlife hospital on the Sunshine Coast.
The maximum penalty for shooting a koala is a $225,000 (£140,000) fine or two years in jail.