Australia

More than $1 million has been donated to help koalas displaced by horror bushfires

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After overwhelmingly exceeding its fundraising goal, a New South Wales koala hospital is pledging to install drinking stations in koala habitat which has been ravaged by bushfires.

The public is digging deep to help hundreds of koalas affected by recent bushfires on NSW's mid-north coast, with a local koala hospital surpassing its fundraising goal by more than $85,000.

A GoFundMe campaign launched by the Port Macquarie Koala Hospital had raised more than $1.1 million by Friday morning.

Contributions will now go towards the purchase of drinking stations which will be installed in fire-ravaged regions, with the construction of safe habitat also on the agenda.

More than 350 koalas are feared dead after bushfires destroyed thousands of hectares of koala habitat across northern New South Wales and southeast Queensland.

Paul the koala was admitted to Port Macquarie Koala Hospital with dehydration and burnt feet and hands.
Paul the koala was admitted to Port Macquarie Koala Hospital with dehydration and burnt feet and hands.
Port Macquarie Koala Hospital

The facility has so far admitted 31 injured koalas for treatment, all of whom have been rescued from varying fire grounds. After arriving at the hospital, the koalas are rehydrated, examined for burns, treated with cream and bandaged, Port Macquarie Koala Hospital said.

The bandages are then changed every three days.

"Initially, the hospital’s aim was to raise money to purchase and distribute automatic drinking stations which will be installed in the burnt areas to help in koala and wildlife survival," the GoFundMe page reads.

"The number of drinking stations being built has now been increased and they will be shared with other wildlife organisations in fire-affected regions across NSW."

Earlier this month, Christeen McLeod of Koalas in Care, a rescue service for sick and injured koalas in Taree, told SBS News caring for fire-affected koalas was a "full-on" process.

“These animals are highly-distressed from the ordeal of the fire, so we have to sedate them to be able to treat them because they want to bite and lash out at us," she said.

A dehydrated and injured Koala receives treatment at the Port Macquarie Koala Hospital.
A dehydrated and injured Koala receives treatment at the Port Macquarie Koala Hospital.
Getty

“For our own safety and their own goodwill, they’ve got to be sedated to attend to all their injuries.”

As of 9pm of Thursday, there were 62 bush and grass fires still burning in NSW, with 24 yet to be contained. 

Koalas are headed for extinction in New South Wales as early as 2050, according to the World Wildlife Fund.

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