National Geographic : 2012 May
Koala crusader Ray Chambers of the Sunshine Coast Koala Wildlife Rescue nets a female and her joey as Phil Siggers looks on. e adult had conjunctivitis, common in koalas. "You've got to be gentle with them," says Chambers, an auto repairman who co-founded the southeast Queensland organization. taken, the e orts of grassroots koala emergency squads will continue to be essential. " e more koalas we lose, the more valuable each rescued koala becomes," says Hanger. Deidré de Villiers takes the koalas' plight personally. Visitors to her home in Logan- holme, south of Brisbane, discover that the woman who is a respected koala researcher by day is a doting koala foster parent by night. "Ruby still sleeps in the basket hugging her teddy bear," she says. e baby koala is cocooned in a cane picnic basket like an infant in a bassinet. "She was rescued from the jaws of a dog. You want to hold her?" De Villiers picks up Ruby and hands her to me, the koala's needle-sharp claws piercing my neck and face. I wince, and de Villiers, whose arms are crosshatched with scratches, laughs. "She likes to have both hands and feet grip- ping something when she's picked up," she says. My lip is bleeding, so I hand the little beast back.