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The Koala Blog

Koala cuteness, conservation and news from the front line.

Koala Kindy January 2024

See what our joeys are up to in Koala Kindy to start off 2024!

Koala Kindy arrivals and departures were very busy these last few weeks which means that our incredible volunteers had a lot to do! It has also been hot and very wet here in the Northern Rivers which poses it’s own challenges.

Frankie, Panko, Pikachu, Baby Bear, 8 Mile, Nightshade and Minnie May have all been fully released, whilst Boorie and Nimbus are still in plantation and due for release in the very near future – what a clearout! You may have seen some of these release videos online. If you haven’t, make sure you follow us on socials. We will miss these little rascals so much but this is their journey and we are delighted to have nine happy and healthy young koalas released back to the wild where they will hopefully go on to have their own joeys in time. We just hope we don’t see any of them again through misadventure – something tells us we will see Brown Sugar again – continue reading to find out why!

Once our joeys are big, strong and healthy enough for independence we send them out to what we call plantation. This is an important step in their journey with us and allows the young koalas to build strength and continue to develop the skills they will need to survive in the wild. Plantation release also removes the human element that koalas have had whilst in care. In the wild this (dispersion) would all be done under the watchful eye of mum and so to make up for it we tend to release the joeys in multiples so they have each other for company. All the joeys have done well, maintained or improved body condition and put on weight!

We have little to no time for empty nest syndrome though!

Johnny and Hiphop

These two have become quite the duo in Koala Kindy – one minute Hiphop is muscling in on Johnny’s milk feeds, the next moment, Johnny is sleeping on Hiphop’s head. Johnny has overtaken Hiphop in the weight stakes and is now the biggest koala in kindy – how time flies. It wasn’t very long ago that he was a 400g curly coated, lanky baby transferred to us from North Coast Emergency Vets after his mum was hit by a car. Hiphop has tipped the scales at 2.1kg and will soon be ready for his ear bling and a microchip – after that his sights will be set on plantation!

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Two cuties – Johnny and Hiphop

Brown Sugar

Brown Sugar has progressed quickly out of home care and into Koala Kindy. This one is curious and has already gotten into bother with a stink bug who squirted an acidic liquid into her eye, creating a painful corneal ulcer, but following a week of topical treatment her eye is as good as new. Not content with that mischief she also found her way to the tiniest hole in a fence that no other koala could possibly have found and got stuck. Our koala carers were able to release her totally unharmed but we do wonder what mischief she will find next – hopefully none!

Koalas are marsupials, indigenous to Australia
She’s already thinking of her next mischief – Brown Sugar


Emerson’s fungal wounds have responded well to medication and appear to be stable or improving (you might remember that we think Emerson may have been in a scuffle prior to admission to FOK). Emerson also has mild conjunctivitis. Fungal infections can be very slow to respond to treatment, so it’s likely he will need a few more rounds of therapy before it is completely cleared. Luckily, Emerson is taking it all in his stride and continues to otherwise improve in condition and put on weight. We are keeping a close eye on him to assess his medications and make sure he continues to gain weight.

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Little Emerson

Swan and Cygnet

After initially successfully reuniting mum Swan with her joey Cygnet (Cygnet fell from mums back up a tree), it became clear after a few weeks that Swan was no longer producing enough milk for Cygnet to stay healthy and grow. We made the difficult decision to put Cygnet into home care and release Swan to breed another beautiful joey. Cygnet is doing well in home care – putting on over 100g each week. We noticed that Cygnet had initial problems with drooling when eating which seems to be settling down now that she is used to supplement feeding and is more relaxed in care. She is also having some intermittent problems with diarrhea, the underlying cause of we are not sure about yet – perhaps it is the milk? Importantly, her scats are slowly returning to normal and she is otherwise looking bright and healthy.

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This little beauty who weighs around 1.3kg was found in a similar state to Nightshade – covered in ticks and very anaemic but this wasn’t her only problem. Ayla had also developed large abscesses around her hind end – the cause of which we aren’t sure, but we suspect a dog or cat bites. Ayla is in the hands of our amazing IFAW-supported vet team and highly experienced koala carers and with antibiotic treatment and local wound care she is already on the road to recovery and will be fit enough to join the Koala Kindy party soon. She is a little wild one – it will be interesting to see how she goes in kindy.

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Kelso a very young male joey of about nine months old and weighing just 1.7kg is one of the youngest joeys admitted to our hospital in recent times for chlamydial conjunctivitis. Luckily he is still in excellent body condition, which should help him to tolerate treatment. Our amazing team will keep a close eye on him and give him lots of TLC for a (hopefully) swift recovery.


Maleny was found at the base of a tree, her mum very sadly succumbed suddenly due to an abdominal tumour making Maleny an orphan. Maleny was brought to our hospital and was found to be clinically healthy and immediately placed in home care. There she received tonnes of TLC and hydration and has already progressed to Koala Kindy where she is steadily learning to take milk supplements from her volunteer carers. Feeding time is interesting with this little sweetie. She initially refuses and then, when she suddenly realises what’s happening, is so keen that she tries to grab the syringe from her carers.

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Maleny enjoying the rain

And that’s it from Koala Kindy for January – but it’s more than enough right? We have our hands full with so many koalas at the minute and these are just the joeys!

If you love reading about our koalas you might be interested in catching up on:

If you love our work then perhaps you might like to support us in some way – our koala adoption program offers the chance to adopt one of our gorgeous beauties for yourself or a loved one and we have recently added new adoptees – check them out!

Did you know you can book a koala tour with us? You can discover the world of koalas with a free educational koala tour at our Koala Care Centre & Koala Hospital in Lismore, NSW. If you’re a local, passing through or you’re simply up for the adventure of a detour we would love to host you please check out our tour times and ways to book.

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