Baby koala clings to life after shooting

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A baby koala was fighting for life Thursday, nearly a week after it was shot in eastern Australia.

The koala, Frodo, was hit 15 times with apparent shotgun pellets, animal rescuers said. She suffered a fractured skull, and the pellets perforated her organs, including her stomach and small intestines. The joey, as baby koalas are called, was found next to her fatally shot mother near Kenilworth on Friday.

Veterinarians performed a blood transfusion and a series of surgeries to remove seven pellets, according to her doctor, Amber Gillett.

She is eating leaves on her own and is in stable condition at the Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital, Gillett said.

“Frodo is now much brighter and alert, and is moving around well in the intensive care unit,” Gillett said in a news release. The doctor said Frodo has a long road to recovery.

“At this stage, no further surgery has been scheduled. I will continue to monitor her condition and make a decision at a later stage.”

Koalas were made a protected species in the country in 1937, according to the Australian Koala Foundation. Deborah Tabart, chief executive of the Australian Koala Foundation, said attacks on koalas are rare.

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