Adopt Me!Lauren was rescued by Friends of the Koala in December 2014. She was found with her deceased mum at the base of a tree after they were both attacked by a dog. Luckily, she had no major injuries, so she went into home care with an experienced koala carer.
While in care, despite being offered lots of paste and leaf, she rarely ate a lot and was quite weak. In an effort to increase her appetite, Lauren was paired with another koala joey named Kim. Kim loved to eat but wasn’t as active as Lauren, so it was hoped they would rub off on one another. Kim was pretty tough and would often pick fights with Lauren and, being a little shy, Lauren always conceded. As the weeks rolled on, Kim became more active living with Lauren and Lauren’s appetite greatly improved – she even learnt how to fight back sometimes!
Although Lauren’s appetite increased, she was still struggling to gain weight. After a thorough vet check, it was established that she had active Koala Retrovirus also known as KoRV. KoRV is present in the koala genome – they can have it their whole life without any trouble, but because Lauren had such a stressful time with her mum being killed, her KoRV was activated.
Retroviruses in general are known to cause cancers and other diseases that thrive without an immune system to fight them off. Researchers are still working to understand how exactly KoRV affects Koalas. As Lauren has active KoRV she can’t be released into the wild as she often gets sick and needs constant monitoring, so she now calls Friends of the Koala home.
Lauren shares an enclosure with two other koalas and gets lots of love and affection from all the volunteers.