As it starts to snow like a cold powdery dream in the US, Australia is burning. It’s not even summer and the temperatures have reached 49.6 degrees or 121.28 this year. (The hottest day on record ever is 50.7 or 123.26 in 1960). To add to the joy of blistering heat, severe dehydration and sun stroke, several idiots – tweens of course (who else?) decided lethal raging fires would be of tremendous comfort and distract us from our boring air conditioned lives. These deliberately lit fires across NSW took the lives of fire-fighters, the homes of innocent victims and extinguished numerous animals. (Common sense and consequences for actions are obviously not part of parenting/schooling these days). However, it is the animals that are perhaps some of the greatest victims.
On a trip to Port Macquarie in NSW, I visited the Koala Hospital which helps to rehabilitate injured koalas who have been burnt in fires, hit by motor vehicles, infected with disease or attacked by dogs. (Or thoroughly pissed off with tweens). The sight of these defenceless and adorable animals who have been burnt and injured broke my heart.
The Koala Hospital was founded in 1973 and is run almost exclusively by volunteers and managed by a charitable organisation, the Koala Preservation Society Australia.The hospital consists of a treatment room, 8 Intensive Care Units, 6 outdoor intensive care units and 33 rehabilitation yards which can house 100 koalas. Between 200 and 250 koalas are admitted through the Hospital annually. It is a licenced Wildlife Rehabilitation Facility carrying out on-site procedures and is a research and study centre.
There was several cute koalas but one in particular stole my heart. A 10-year-old male (koalas generally have a life span of 15 years) captured my attention. While I took photos of him like he was the last one in the world, he posed and ate his eucalyptus leaves unfazed by the attention. His left eye had a bacterial infection and all I wanted to do was hug him. I adore koalas.
The hospital offers free guided walks at 3pm daily and entry is free although a gold coin donation is appreciated. The other zoo in Port Macquarie is $25 entry and is busier so the Koala Hospital offers a quieter, more peaceful environment to learn about koalas and their habitat. Its also free!
This is a heart breaking but meaningful tourist attraction. If you are unable to visit the hospital yourself you can adopt a koala online for $35 which contributes to the costs of rehabilitating the animals at the hospital. The adoption fee is tax deductible within Australia. You can become a member for only $20 or you can make a donation of any price. I highly recommend this place as an alternative to the bigger and more expensive zoo in Port Macquarie. They could use all the support they can get.