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Press release – Rescued near death, koala joey Hobi makes a full recovery at the Northern Rivers Koala Hospital

Lismore – Northern Rivers, NSW — A koala discovered cold and alone under a bush has made an astonishing recovery at the Northern Rivers Koala Hospital, operated by Friends of the Koala and newly renamed to better reflect the organisation’s long-standing comprehensive approach to koala conservation across the Northern Rivers region.

Hobi was found as a very young joey by a member of the public in early February this year and arrived at the Northern Rivers Koala Hospital weighing just 700 grams.

The veterinary team were initially very concerned as little Hobi was suffering shock from exposure and his prognosis for survival was thought to be very slim.

“He could barely sit up, was very dehydrated, had an erratic heartbeat, abnormal head and eye movements and his body temperature was so low that a reading did not register on the thermometer,” Dr. Jodie Wakeman, Veterinary Clinical & Research Director, Friends of the Koala. Dr. Jodie Wakeman, Veterinary Clinical & Research Director, Friends of the Koala.

“Hobi surprised us all though as with some medications, fluids, intensive care in a humidicrib and lots of TLC, he slowly improved over the next few days. It wasn’t long before Hobi was eating leaves and starting to move around.”

Northern Rivers Koala Hospital miracle patient Hobi
Hobi’s early days in Home Care

Over the weeks that followed, Hobi gradually recovered from his brush with death – his heart rate settled, his body temperature and hydration normalised, and his metabolic and neurological problems disappeared. He was getting stronger every day.

Now, after two months in intensive home care with part time Veterinary Nurse and Joey Care Coordinator Liz McLeod, Hobi is ready for Koala Kindy where he will start his rewilding journey on the road to being released back to his home. Without the Northern Rivers Koala Hospital it is most likely little Hobi would not have survived.

“He is our little miracle koala for the year, and we are so pleased to see him thriving and so proud of our veterinary and volunteer teams that help to save koalas like him,” continued Dr Jodie.

Hobi now in Koala Kindy!

The news of Hobi’s recovery comes at a crucial time when Friends of the Koala urgently requires financial support. A decline in donations and available funding threaten its ability to operate the Northern Rivers Koala Hospital effectively. Without necessary funds, the critical services provided by the hospital and wider organisation are at risk, which could significantly impact koalas like Hobi who depend on the lifesaving work of the veterinary team and close to 300 volunteers.

The facility is specifically designed for the medical treatment of koalas, distinguished as the only wildlife hospital in New South Wales licensed to vaccinate all treated koalas against Chlamydia, the number one cause of death for koalas in the Northern Rivers. The hospital is proud to have vaccinated 177 koalas from the Northern Rivers so far across multiple research projects and treats hundreds of koalas every year – more than any other wildlife hospital in NSW.

Friends of the Koala has set up a special donation drive, appealing to the public’s generosity to help keep the hospital in operation and maintain their high standards of care for these vulnerable animals by becoming a “Friend of the Northern Rivers Koala Hospital.”

The organisation continues to advocate to state and federal government who have yet to commit to adequate financial support for organisations involved in the rescue and rehabilitation of sick, injured and orphaned koalas.

“The necessity for the government to provide sustainable funding to support the vital work done by koala hospitals and rehabilitators is undeniable and cannot wait. The survival of our organisation, and koalas, depends on it. In the meantime, we need the resources to continue the work we do to save koalas every single day – and we need them urgently.” Silva Everaers, General Manager, Friends of the Koala.

The success of Friends of the Koala’s efforts is a testament to the power of community involvement and the effectiveness of a grassroots approach to conservation.

“We’re more than just our name; we’re a community of close to 300 volunteers dedicated to koala conservation, contributing over 75,000 volunteer hours annually to make a real difference, every single day.” continued Silva.

Those volunteers allow the organisation to keep operational costs remarkably low, and with that ensures that every form of support extends further towards making a significant impact on koala conservation.

Originating as a charity focused on planting trees, Friends of the Koala has expanded its conservation activities over the decades to offer a full spectrum of care and protection for koalas individually and as a species. From its humble beginnings, the organisation has evolved to address the myriad challenges koalas face. They have distributed close to 1 million trees through their native plant nursery and rescued over 6000 koalas.

“Our expanded efforts, including habitat restoration and protection, 24/7 rescue, medical treatment, research, advocacy, and community education, embody our comprehensive approach to safeguard the future of this beloved species. The renaming of our koala hospital to the Northern Rivers Koala Hospital better reflects our wide-reaching work within the region, and the unique role we play within the Northern Rivers Wildlife Network” , continued Silva.

Friends of the Koala works closely with other rescue organisations and wildlife hospitals in the region, to ensure wildlife receive the specialised care they desperately need.

For more information on how you can support koalas like Hobi through Friends of the Koala’s Northern Rivers Koala Hospital, please visit: Friends of the Northern Rivers Koala Hospital.

Hobi joins the Koala Kindy squad!

About Friends of the Koala:

Friends of the Koala has been a leader in koala conservation in the Northern Rivers region of New South Wales for over 35 years. Through the Northern Rivers Koala Hospital and a range of conservation initiatives, the organisation addresses the critical needs of koalas — from individual care to species-wide protection. With a deep understanding of the challenges koalas face, Friends of the Koala embodies a holistic approach to conservation, powered by a dedicated community of volunteers.

Contact Information:
For media enquiries, please contact Silva Everaers at

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