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We need to save koalas from extinction Part I

Friends of the Koala are immensely proud and honoured to lead the way in koala care in NSW.

Note: This is the 1st of a series of articles which deals with our approach to saving koalas from extinction and provides indebth information about how we run and what we do in our Koala Hospital and Koala Care Centre.

You are probably well aware about the sad fact that Australia’s koala is on the brink of extinction in New South Wales (NSW), the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) and Queensland (QLD). (There are no wild koalas in WA, the NT and Tasmania. Fossil records indicate that many, many years ago the koala inhabited WA and the NT, no evidence has been found of koalas in Tasmania.)

Wild koalas Chunky and her joey Junior

Reasons include:

  • Habitat loss, fragmentation and degradation of eucalyptus forest and other areas where koala’s live.
  • Diseases, especially chlamydia and koala retrovirus. A reduction in the quantity and quality of undisturbed habitat can induce diseases by lowering the immune system response of koalas.
  • Declining koala populations resulting in reduced genetic diversity. This can make koalas less adaptable to environmental changes.
  • Vehicle strikes and dog attacks cause many injuries and often death of many koalas.
  • Large numbers of koalas, as well as many other wildlife species, were killed during the recent Black Summer Bushfires. Bushfires, floods, and drought pose an impending threat on koala populations and their habitat.
  • Climate change, in addition to increasing extreme weather events, impacts the quality and availability of eucalyptus leaves, the main source of food for koalas.

What we do to save koalas from extinction

We focus on all aspects of koala conservation in a region where koalas need us most – as populations are declining and the species has become endangered.  

Our organisation is at the forefront of ensuring koalas survive in the Northern Rivers of NSW. We cover a 10,000+ sq km area across the local government areas of Ballina, Byron, Kyogle, Lismore, Richmond Valley and Tweed from our base in East Lismore.

We are here for the long haul

With almost 40 years of experience working on critical, on-the-ground activities to conserve habitat and protect koalas individually and as a species, we have gained an unparalleled, deep understanding of the unique challenges faced by koalas in our region. 

Our President Aliison Kelly and General Manager Silva Everaers
We work holistically
  • We work on achieving long-term goals through our native plant nursery, habitat restoration, education and advocacy.
  • We have a dedicated phone hotline and rescue teams available to respond to calls 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
  • We provide expert onsite veterinary treatment and supportive care year-round in our Koala Hospital and Koala Care Centre. 
  • We initiate, participate in, and execute groundbreaking research. 
  • We protect and enhance koala habitat across the Northern Rivers.
  • We engage with and educate the community.
  • We advocate on behalf of koalas at a local, state and national level.
  • We have more than 550 members, over 240 active volunteers and 7 staff members who turn up for koalas in need of support 24/7.
A koala being treated in our Koala Hospital

In addition to operating the only dedicated Koala Hospital in the Northern Rivers other, equally important activities, are:

  • a licenced koala rehabilitation and care centre capable of supporting at least 26 koalas at the same time to recover from illness and injury,
  • two koala pre-release plantations,
  • seven koala food tree plantations,
  • a Community Education Centre,
  • five community native plant nursery sites,
  • one of the largest single-species databases in the world, including sighting, rescue, rehabilitation, and release records from 1989,
  • several habitat protection, restoration, and creation initiatives, and
  • in 2024, we will open a state-of-the-art Research & Diagnostics Laboratory.

We step up and lead

We have become the lead koala conservation group in Australia and our holistic approach makes us especially effective.

We also founded and lead the Northern Rivers Koala Network, a cooperation between all Northern Rivers councils, koala conservation groups, and representatives from (inter)national NGO’s.

We run a dedicated Koala Hospital

We operate the only dedicated Koala Hospital in the Northern Rivers which forms an integral part of our holistic approach and effectiveness in saving koala lives.

What you can do to save koalas from extinction

We are about to commence our ‘Friends of the Koala Hospital’ fundraising initiative and we are hoping you will become part of it. All will be revealed in next month’ newsletter and on our social media accounts.

In the meantime, if you wish, you can support our work in a number of ways, there is something to suit different income levels and interests. Support us:

Perhaps you might like to read more about our hospital and other related areas:

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