Meeting the needs of every koala admitted to our care centre takes careful planning and consideration and we are continuously aiming to optimise our facility to meet the demand for our services.
We have previously mentioned our new Research and Diagnostics Laboratory and are excited that we have been able to increase the capacity of our Koala Care Centre.
Meeting the needs of koalas in the Northern Rivers
Having the right number of enclosures for the number of koalas flowing into the centre is critical. Responsible care of our koalas is what we do, it’s who we are and increasing our life-saving capacity will provide koalas in the Northern Rivers the best possible care and chances of survival.
Where we house our koalas is called an enclosure or run. Up until recently, we had thirteen outdoor enclosures, two ICU cages and one ICU room. We added three new fully completed enclosures with the ability to house fourteen adult koalas, approximately six joeys and up to four females in our permanent enclosure (run one). Fencing has been completed thanks to funding from National Parks and Wildlife Services (NPSW).
Looking back at the 2019 bushfires, managing the additional number of residents was extremely challenging. With our new enclosures we are better prepared in the event of natural disasters. Additionally, the new runs will be used for vaccination projects and generally busy periods.
Spatial flexibility is also important when considering meeting the needs of our koalas. When planning we need to take a koala’s age, sex, health and personality into consideration. For example, we would never put a female next to a male unless there was a wall between them but they would preferably be much further apart as this will prevent stress. We know that when koalas are stressed they are more susceptible to disease.
In addition to our three new fully equipped enclosures, we have another seven to be completed. Fit-outs are expensive and include the installation of fencing, water, bins and appropriate ‘furnishings’ for climbing and jumping – such as trees, logs and ropes. Completion of the other seven enclosures will ideally take place soon so we are ready for what is ahead. Fundraising for completion will form part of our ongoing fundraising strategy. If you would like to help us – any and all support is appreciated!
Types of enclosures
Enclosures with cement flooring are kept for koalas who are sick with chlamydial disease and enclosures with sand floors can be used for koalas who are injured or need to be housed once they are healthy.
All enclosures are designed to provide koalas with everything they need including a natural environment with plenty of space, options (such as to exercise, sleep, enjoy the shade), a quiet environment, clean and disinfected. They must also allow easy access for our team including vets and volunteers.
It takes great collaboration between our plantation crew, care team, other volunteers and our local businesses we work with to create these safe and functional homes for koalas. The runs must also be easily accessible for staff.
Please make a donation and help us complete the rest of our runs, as always it is very much appreciated.