Volunteering with Friends of the Koala – an international perspective
Friends of the Koala was fortunate enough to have Nadine Kuhn from Germany, volunteer full time Monday to Friday for the entire month of January. With Koalas being her favourite animal, Nadine loved the nature of our work and took on all aspects of volunteering with ease. We will definitely miss Nadine’s positive outlook and can-do attitude, we hope she returns soon! Here is her story.
Before I came to the rehab centre I had a vague idea that koalas were a threatened species but was shocked when I realised the extent of the problem. During the last 4 weeks we admitted a huge number of injured and/or sick koalas to the centre but only 2 of them actually survived. Almost every patient was suffering from Chlamydia or Cystitis which must be extremely painful and is often fatal.
I was lucky enough to go to a few appointments at the local vet who was working for free, just as the vet nurse and all the other volunteers running the centre do. Witnessing this high level of dedication from so many different personalities and backgrounds was very inspiring!
At the same time I´m still shocked that the government provides no funding for the rehabilitation centre and that there are no laws to protect koala habitat. It was also concerning that many citizens of Lismore either had no idea about the existence of the koala centre in their hometown or that koalas are running straight into extinction unless the laws change.
I asked a few influential photographers on Instagram if they could help raise awareness about the plight of koalas so that more people become aware of the seriousness of the situation. One answer, I received was special and I´d like to share it with you:
‘We all have a voice to change the things that are important to us. It doesn’t matter if we have 1 follower or 1 million followers, we all can start an online petition, send letters to the council, publish articles or find other ways to fight for the things we believe in. We don’t need somebody else to be the voice of our own message’.
I can absolutely recommend volunteering with Friends of the Koala as it´s been more rewarding than any paid job could be, especially seeing them being released back into the wild! I’ve learned so many things about koalas, their treatment, eucalyptus species and how to make a difference as an individual.
Thanks to absolutely everyone at Friends of the Koala. I had a terrific time and will definitely keep volunteering for endangered species all over the world!