Australian Koala Hospital Crowdfunds Over $1.8 Million

The funds were raised to rescue and rehabilitate marsupials following Australia’s recent wildfires.

Dec 4, 2019

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The adorable cuddly Koala is a marsupial that is native to Australia and lives in the country's eucalypti forests. Like the kangaroo, these animals are hugely loved worldwide. Today, there are fewer than 80,000 koalas left in the wild.

That's why Australia's bushfires that blazed at an unprecedented rate in November 2019, has been so devastating to the Koalas.

The internet showed us heartbreaking images of bandaged koalas and heroic koala rescue videos. But, beyond courageous Aussie’s that braved fires to bring koalas to safety, a lesser known story is that of a gofundme page that has broken Australia’s record for most money donated to a single cause.

According to the crowdfunding page, close to 43,000 people have donated over $1.8 million dollars towards the Port Macquarie Koala Hospital in New South Wales. This far eclipsed the original Help Thirsty Koalas Devastated by Recent Fires Campaign's $25,000 target.

The amount of people who want to contribute to this cause is astounding. Over 43,400 have already donated, and the number keeps climbing every few minutes! What’s even more inspiring is that most of the donations are modest sums — ranging from $10-$35 dollars – coming from average people who want to help.  

The funds will go towards rescuing and rehabilitating koalas as well as towards setting up automatic water stations in the bush according to ABC News. Koalas are at risk of dehydration due to habitat loss and because much of the hydration they receive comes from leaves that are now dried up. 

The additional money will go to creating a wild koala breeding program, an important initiative since koala’s are vulnerable to extinction because approximately 75 percent of the areas hit by the fires were home to koalas.

As many as 350 Koalas perished during the fire according to the hospital but to date, over thirty injured were brought to the hospital from the fire area and people are still searching for more. The injured marsupials were rehydrated and afterwards were checked and treated for burns.

"We expect to have the koalas in here for up to 12 months because they won't be able to be released into their habitat because it's non-existent…we've got to wait for that bush to regenerate so that they can be put back out there, " hospital volunteer Lyn Booth told ABC News.

The Gofundme page will also support the building of Koala Ark, a facility that will replicate a healthy habitat for surviving koalas since their habitat has been destroyed by the wildfires.

The hospital said, "Hopefully, these koalas will breed, and a new population of koalas will be established for return to the wild." That would be the best possible outcome for the furry marsupials that everyone wants to hug.

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HILLA BENZAKEN, CONTRIBUTOR
Hilla Benzaken is a dedicated optimist. Her happy place involves cooking, acting, gardening, and fighting for social justice. She writes about all things sustainability, innovation, and DIY.