- Bushfires in Australia have devastated the country’s koala population.
- Australians are doing everything they can, however, to save the beloved marsupial.
- Photos of the Port Macquarie Koala Hospital in New South Wales show the catastrophic impact the bushfires have had on koalas and how hospital volunteers are working day and night to rescue them.
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Bushfires throughout the Australian territory of New South Wales have devastated its koala population.
So far, the wildfires have ravaged about 12.35 million acres of land, killing nine people and destroying more than 1,000 homes. Moreover, the feared ecological loss is enormous. Australia’s environment minister, Sussan Ley, told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation that her ministry estimated that up to 30% of koalas’ habitat had been destroyed. Exactly how much has been lost won’t be known until the fires die down.
But some Australians have been galvanised to save one of their country’s most beloved animal species. As Australia continues to face extreme heat and bushfires, videos of koalas being given water have spread across social media. And the grassroots support doesn’t stop there.
Port Macquarie Koala Hospital, a small koala hospital in New South Wales, raised over 2.2 million Australian dollars after starting a GoFundMe page with a goal of just 25,000 AUD. The GoFundMe is one of the most successful in Australian history, and it even caught the attention of the actor Leonardo DiCaprio.
Pictures from the hospital show the devastation Australia’s koalas are facing and the efforts of ordinary Australians to save the iconic marsupial.
The Port Macquarie Koala Hospital was established in 1973 by the nonprofit Koala Conservation Australia Incorporated.
Source: Koala Hospital Website
The hospital has eight intensive-care units that cater to koalas with specific medical needs. It is staffed by four paid employees and 140 volunteers.
But since the bushfires started, the koala hospital has been overwhelmed by the number of injured koalas requiring care.
When a koala is brought to the hospital, the first priority is rehydrating it.
The next day, the koala is examined and treated for burns.
Once it’s well enough, it is sent to the rehabilitation yards.
The hospital’s GoFundMe page states that 31 koalas have been rescued from fire-affected areas so far.
The hospital typically admits 200 to 250 koalas a year and conducts research on koala diseases in addition to caring for sick or injured koalas.
Source: Koala Hospital GoFundMe
The bushfires, however, have forced the hospital to shift focus to caring for koalas affected by the fire.
Despite the tireless efforts of hospital staff and volunteers, the hospital describes the effect of the wildfires on koala habitats as “catastrophic.”
Source: Koala Hospital Website
Thousands of koalas are thought to have perished in the flames, but the hospital is doing all it can to save the koala population.
In October, the hospital started a GoFundMe page to raise money to replace 12 automatic drinking stations that were destroyed by the fires.
The hospital asked for 25,000 AUD. At the time this article was written, the GoFundMe page had raised over 2 million AUD.
Thanks to more than 45,000 donations from around the world, the Koala Hospital will be able to multiply its efforts to save Australia’s koala population.
The number of planned drinking stations has been increased to 100 from 12.
Additionally, the Koala Hospital plans to establish three controlled breeding areas for wild koalas.
But before steps can be taken to rebuild Australia’s decimated koala population, the hospital — and the koalas — must wait out the blaze as the country continues to experience wildfires and record heat.
In the meantime, the Koala Hospital continues to care for its patients, ensuring the preservation of Australia’s most adored marsupial one koala at a time.
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