Fears shot koala may die of lead poisoning

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A baby koala who survived a gunshot wound earlier this month is still fighting for her life at the Australia Zoo in the state of Queensland.

The joey, named Frodo, was found on 5th November in the Sunshine Coast hinterland, with 15 shotgun pellets lodged in her head and body, an Australia Zoo spokeswoman said.

Despite two operations, eight pellets remain lodged in Frodo's body and veterinarians fear she may succumb to lead poisoning.

"Once they get into the intestinal tract in the stomach, there can be some real problems of lead being absorbed and toxicity occurring later down the track," said Doctor Amber Gillett from the Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital.

Dr Gillett, who operated on Frodo, said the pellets had been too hard to reach.

"I think we will leave them and see if they pass," she said. "If they don't pass we'll go onto treatment to prevent that toxicity."

Despite the poisoning fears, Dr Gillett said Frodo was making good progress.

"She's a real fighter," she said.

The attack on Frodo was condemned as "sick and cruel" by Queensland State Sustainability Minister Kate Jones, who said the person responsible could face a two-year prison term.

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