Friends of the Koala on site
Each year Friends of the Koala rescues over 350 sick, injured and orphaned koalas. Our 24/7 Rescue Hotline receives calls from members of the public who either need advice or encounter a sick, injured, or orphaned koala within the Northern Rivers region. Trained rescue volunteers attend the call out, assess the situation thoroughly and if necessary, undertake the rescue. Once carefully contained, koalas are transported to our Koala Hospital for treatment.
On admittance to the Koala Hospital, koalas are assesssed and treated by our amazing veterinary team. Every effort is made to save and release sick and injured koalas, however, those with a very poor prognosis are euthanased to prevent further suffering.
Koalas can be in rehabilitation anywhere from a few hours to several months, depending on the case. While in care, koalas are monitored daily and receive specialised veterinary treatment.
Upon release, koalas undergo a final vet check. Depending on the length of their rehabilitation, koalas may need to be transferred to a soft release enclosure where they can regain muscle strength before their eventual return to the wild.
In most cases, koalas are released back to their home range. If we are unable to return them to the exact tree from which they were rescued, we release them as close to that tree as possible.
How to identify a koala in need of help
A sick, injured or orphan koala
Have you seen a sick, injured or orphan koala? Please call our Koala Rescue Hotline immediately!
Sick koalas can have red, swollen, pussy or crusty eyes, fur loss anywhere on their body, brown, stained rumps, an unpleasant smell, and their fur is often dry brown or matted. They may also have discharges from their mouths, ears, eyes or cloacas.
Sick koalas are often slow to respond, if at all, to humans and can be touched without responding. They are generally found low to the ground or on the ground except when moving between trees, and can stay in the same tree without moving for more than a few days. Their gait is abnormal or uneven, and they can be disorientated, walking in circles.
Some injuries, such as bleeding from any part of their body or broken bones are obvious. However, some injuries, such as dog bites, are often not visible, but if there are dogs in the vicinity there’s always a chance that the dog (no matter how small) has bitten a koala. In these cases, contact you local koala rescue group immediately.
Koalas smaller than a soccer ball when curled up may be orphans, and need to be assessed by an experienced koala rehabilitator. Similarly, pouch or back young koala orphans, where the mother has been killed by a dog or car, need to be placed with an experienced koala rehabilitator immediately.
A koala sitting on the ground, unresponsive to what is around it, is a very sick koala and needs attention IMMEDIATELY.
Call our Koala Rescue Hotline if you live in the Northern Rivers of NSW or your local wildlife organisation if outside this area – search online for your local wildlife organisation.
A healthy koala
Healthy koalas have a thick, grey coat with white markings, bright eyes and a rounded full belly. They respond when startled, spend most of their time high in trees (not necessarily a koala food tree), move and climb well and have no discharge from their eyes, nose, mouth, ears or cloaca.
Healthy koalas have a pleasant koala smell and being wild animals, will bite and scratch if handled by humans. If they’re on their own and larger than a soccer ball, they’re adults. Koalas smaller than this on their own may be orphans and need to be looked at by an experienced koala rehabilitator.
Report a Koala Sighting
Even if a koala is healthy, we would really like to have that information as it helps build our database of koalas in the Region.
We have a handy online form to Report a Koala Sighting built right into our website.
Our Koala Rescues in numbers
Koala Rescue Articles
Rehabilitation and release – Clooney and Karla
Recent rehabilitation and release stories – the handsome Clooney and beautiful Karla – two koalas we recently rehabilitated and released back home to the wild. Clooney Clooney is, as the name suggests, a handsome male koala who was admitted to FOK in December last year. Clooney had conjunctivitis in his right eye but otherwise appeared … Read more
The story of Chunky and Junior
Brad Mustow is a Professional Photographer and a volunteer here at Friends of the Koala. Most of the photos that we share with you have been carefully taken by Brad. For over a year, Brad followed a koala and her baby that lived in his street and in that time he took some incredible footage. … Read more
Flux Goes Home!
Flux was spotted in a row of trees by a road in East Coraki shortly after the second floods (April 7, 2022) by one of our rescuers. He was not alone; there was a female in another tree. Both displayed severe signs of cystitis (very wet and stained bums). When both were found in the same … Read more