DEDICATED GROUP: Ipswich Koala Protection Society founding member Helen Darbellay (right) with koala carer Maureen Hall wit koalas Mr Blinky (closest to camera) and Miss Molly.
DEDICATED GROUP: Ipswich Koala Protection Society founding member Helen Darbellay (right) with koala carer Maureen Hall wit koalas Mr Blinky (closest to camera) and Miss Molly. Rob Williams

Local group to celebrate 20 years of saving koalas

FORGET about rescuing thousands of koalas, one of the Ipswich Koala Protection Society's biggest battles over the last two decades has been in convincing the authorities that the city is home to big populations of the mysterious marsupials.

From humble beginnings in late 1994, the then-Woogaroo Koala Protection Society quickly branched out to cover vast areas of the Ipswich region, acquiring more than 300 members, two wildlife ambulances and a dedicated rescue rehabilitation clinic for sick, injured or orphaned animals.

As the Ipswich Koala Protection Society, the group was able to successfully lobby for the realignment of a large section of the Southern Freight Rail Corridor - a massive piece of industrial rail infrastructure that would have cut the city's biggest koala population at Willowbank and Mt Forbes up the middle.

Founding member Helen Darbellay said that recent achievement was the IKPS' most significant to date, and reason to celebrate the 20th anniversary this weekend.

"We started with a group of eight people who were concerned about the Springfield development and the local koala population," Ms Darbellay said.

Spearheaded by late wildlife advocate Ric Nattrass, the group was formed within a matter of days.

The IKPS has been responsible for rescuing 3500 koalas and nursing and releasing 150 orphans over the last 20 years.

The Ipswich Koala Protection Society's 20th anniversary celebrations will be held at the Rescue and Rehabilitation Clinic at Mt Forbes on Sunday.

For more information phone Helen on 3282 5035.



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