There was a lady quietly weeping as she read the story of Miracle, she was the only Koala rescued from a large group that were burned during a bushfire. They were burned to death clinging to the trees, she was the only one still alive. Her eyes were burnt closed and her ears were little stumps. This critically injured Koala was nursed back to health with 24 hour attention. Her eyes were bathed for weeks, till one then the other eyelid healed and opened to reveal functioning eyes that were protected only by the fact she had cataracts. Once these were removed she was able to see once more. Her limbs regrew fur and although she had horrific scars and skin damage she went on to live for years. Special ladders and platforms were erected in her enclosure so she could access trees and feed herself. There are some truly sad stories here at the Port Macquarie Koala Hospital, but there are also uplifting ones.
The Koala Hospital 1973- 2014 is almost entirely staffed by volunteers and has it’s own ambulance and 24 hour hotline ( 0265841522).
Port Macquarie is a major tourist destination about 4.5 hours north of Sydney. It has extensive beaches and untouched bushland that is home to Australia’s amazing Koalas. 2-300 of them a year end up at the hospital through car accidents, dog attacks and diseases common to Koalas in urban environments.
The Koala Hospital consists of a treatment room, 8 Intensive Care Units, 6 outdoor intensive care units and 33 rehabilitation yards, many of which have trees for koalas to learn to climb as part of the rehabilitation process. All treatments are performed at the hospital with the exception of major surgeries and x rays, and for this they rely on the Port Macquarie Animal Hospital. It not only has a strong affiliation with Sydney University, The University of Technology Queensland and the Australian Museum, but also networks with many institutions, zoos, wildlife researchers, wildlife veterinarians and numerous wildlife rehabilitation groups worldwide to exchange information and techniques for caring for Koalas.
“The Australian Koala Foundation estimates that as a result of the loss of their habitat, around 4,000 Koalas are killed each year by dogs and cars alone. Australia has one of the highest land clearing rates in the world. 80% of Koala habitat has already disappeared. Although koalas themselves are protected by law, around eighty percent of any remaining habitat occurs on privately owned land and almost none of that is protected by legislation.” save the koala Foundation
Any body can become a member by paying an annual $20 fee you know you will help support the work done at the hospital. Or become a volunteer. Our Koalas are so special it is so very important to try and help them out. Why not adopt a wild koala and support it’s care . You will receive an adoption certificate, stickers and information about your Koala. Your adoption helps with the rescue and treatment of sick and injured koalas and release back to their home range where possible; also the preservation and expansion of habitat, collection of information for research relating to habitat, disease, nutrition and habits of wild koalas and to provide educational material, to increase public awareness of all aspects of the koala. $50 AUS plus postage for overseas parents.
In the spirit of giving I’d like to kick things off by offering you the chance to win a $30 voucher towards something from Pauls Warehouse. To win this voucher please leave a comment and share this story on Facebook or Twitter.
The competition will be drawn next Sunday the 19th January by random number choice. Please help let people know about the great work done at The Koala Hospital, Port Macquarie and win your self a Pauls Warehouse voucher.
- They don’t often drink as they get most of their moisture from the 3 different types of eucalyptus leaves they eat. That is why their home ranges are closer to the coast where the better quality trees are. Although there are around 600 species of these trees in Australia Koalas are very fussy. Koalas in all eastern states eat differing varieties.
- They also eat the flowers, buds and bark of the trees and strangely enough dirt. This seems to be a way of gaining other nutrients and self-medication of problems. This can also be a source of poisoning around urban areas.
- You can tell the age of a Koala by the wear on its teeth. They can live 10-15 years or even up to 18 years in the wild
- Koalas are slow and sleepy and sleep up 18- 20 hours a day. They are expert climbers but they can’t jump from tree to tree. To find new leaves they need to walk along the ground, this is when they often come in contact with dogs. Although they have sharp claws they are no match for a dog.
- This little vegetarian bear eats 1/2 to 1 kilo a day of leaves
- Koalas are mostly solitary and stick to a “home Range” of trees except when breeding. A mature male has a dark scent gland in the centre of his white chest which exudes a dark, sticky substance. He rubs this on his trees to indicate to other Koalas that this is his territory.
- It’s possible for a female to have a Joey once a year. The babies are born immature without fur and spend the first 6-7 months in a pouch drinking only milk. They have to be introduced to eating eucalyptus gradually. Believe it or not the leaves are poisonous so the joey must feed on a substance called ‘pap’ which is a specialised form of the mother’s droppings that is soft and runny. This allows the mother to pass on to the joey special micro-organisms from her intestine so it can digest the gum leaves. Once the joey leaves the pouch it is usually too big to return it does still drink milk but only from the outside. Babies travel on Mum’s back or abdomen till they are around 1. They can live with her up to the age of 1 and up to 3 unless she has another joey. Then they have to find a “home range” of their own.
- Plus Koalas have 4 thumbs!