Gulliver, a flood orphaned koala joey who was rescued from the catastrophic floods in northern NSW several months ago, has taken his first steps back into the wild.
He was found walking along a road in Tregeagle calling out for his mum, who sadly couldn't be located.
He was 14-months-old at the time and taken to Friends of the Koala in Lismore, which works closely with the International Fund for Animal Welfare IFAW to rescue, rehabilitate and release koalas in the region.
Friends of the Koala senior vet nurse Marley Christian said if someone hadn't found Gulliver when they did he would have been "highly compromised".
"When they did bring him in he must have had a fall at some time because he did have blood in his abdomen," she said.
"He was still in the process of dispersing from his mum and still learning under normal circumstances how to cope in the wild."
Although koalas live high in trees, and can swim a little, they don't understand floods.
"They don't live in one tree, they are pretty much moving around," she said.
"They don't understand floods and they jump and realise that its water and they are floating away.
"They can swim but not for very long."
The floods may have claimed the lives of up to 100 floods and skeletons are still been found now.
"There have been so many issues that have caused so many concerns in the environment over the last few months," Ms Christian said.
Gulliver, who was named for his association with water and his arduous travels, cried for his mother the first few days after being rescued.
"He was crying for the first two nights, it was horrible, devastating," Ms Christian said.
"You have to hold them close and keep them warm and you have got to try and comfort them that way without humanising them."
Gulliver was put into home care with an experienced koala carer and was assessed by IFAW-sponsored vet Dr Jodie Wakeman.
"During the catastrophic floods in our region, we were surrounded by loss. People lost their homes and possessions; animals lost their habitat and sometimes their lives," Dr Wakeman said.
"Being directly involved in the rescue, rehabilitation and release of Gulliver, who was lucky to survive and has thrived in care, has given everyone at Friends of the Koala a positive focus during a difficult time and gives us hope for the future of our endangered species."
IFAW Animal Rescue Program Officer Nicole Rojas-Marin said one survivor from such a catastrophic disaster is vital for the conservation of the species.
"Floods have an immense impact on our wildlife including koalas," she said.
"While people may think koalas are safe at the top of trees, the reality is that they're at real risk of being separated from their mothers or, becoming injured and unwell. For such an iconic species like the koala - which is already endangered in three states, it's another threat to their survival," Ms Rojas-Marin said.
"Gulliver is very lucky that he was rescued when he was - he could have ended up in a far worse situation but instead after months of expert care has now been released back into the wild where he'll hopefully thrive."
Friends of the Koala Lismore run a 24/7 rescue service for koalas by calling 66221233.
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