The Port Macquarie Koala Hospital was established in 1973 and is a licensed wildlife rehabilitation facility. The Hospital is a popular tourist attraction that welcomes thousands of national and international visitors every year. Admission is free. The Hospital is also scientific research, training, and education center.
The work of the Koala Hospital is supervised and carried out by a small number of employed staff, including a Clinic Vet, Conservation Manager, Administration Manager, and several casual leaf collectors. A large body of approximately 175 committed volunteers is vital to the Koala Hospital.
Koala Conservation Australia (KCA) manages the Koala Hospital. This not-for-profit organization has the broader mission to lead the world in the care and conservation of wild koalas, increase knowledge and understanding of the species, and work collaboratively to ensure their survival into the future.
The Koala Hospital consists of exhibit enclosures, a treatment clinic, intensive care units, and rehabilitation yards. Many of which have trees for koalas to learn to climb as part of the rehabilitation process. There is also a Koalaseum – a museum for Koalas which provides information on koala evolution and biology and interactive displays so visitors can touch koala fur or look down a microscope at koala poos (scat).
Adoptions help rescue and treat sick and injured koalas and release them back to their home range where possible. Adoptions also assist with the conservation and expansion of habitat, collecting information for research, and providing educational material to increase public awareness of all aspects of the koala.
Here, you have the stories from our adopted koalas.
In late 2012 a healthy female koala and her joey were hit by a car in Port Macquarie. Sadly, the mother did not survive the impact, and motorists at the scene found a tiny joey sitting in the gutter on the side of the road crying for her mother. The young joey, who was just over one kilo in weight, was named Ocean Summer and was taken into one of the hospital staff’s private homes to be cared for round the clock. Ocean Summer was highly traumatized by the event and took quite some time to settle down. Eventually, she accepted human contact and began to grow. The “foster mother” noticed that Summer was not responding very well to stimuli, and it wasn’t long before we realized that Summer could not see.
In this video, you can watch her checking out her fresh leaf for breakfast and having an early morning scratch. I hope you enjoy this short video of Ocean Summer as I did.
Evans Head CW
This young male koala was observed by a member of the public walking in circles and was brought into Friends of the Koala in Lismore for assessment. He was called Cangleska Wakan, which means sacred circle, but staff calls him CW for short.
On examination, Evans Heads CW was found to have a ruptured left eye and minor limb injuries – consistent with being hit by a car. The left eye was removed, and he was placed into care and was treated for his injuries. CW responded well to treatment, but due to the initial head trauma, he continued to have a head tilt, showed minor disorientation and a slightly unstable gait. While in care, CW developed a case of urogenital chlamydiosis, which also had to be treated. Even though Evans Head CW has responded well to all treatment, it would appear that he has likely
suffered a permanent minor brain injury which will prevent him from surviving in the wild.
Evans Head CW was transferred to the Port Macquarie Koala Hospital to become part of the Hospital’s team of permanent koalas, and he has settled in well. As CW’s minor disabilities are more likely caused by physical trauma then all being well, CW will also be part of the Hospital’s breeding program. In this video, you can see Evans enjoying some fresh leaves. I am sure you will find him adorable.
Ruins Way Baz
During the 2019/20 bushfires peak across our region, many key koala habitats were decimated by fire.
Our bushfire search and rescue teams spent some weeks capturing and bringing in many burnt and dehydrated koala patients. At the same time, National Parks and Wildlife Service personnel were fighting these fires when two of their team came across a little burnt koala sitting on the side of the track. They wrapped him up and brought him straight to the hospital, where staff named him “Baz” after one of the firefighters.
Baz was a juvenile koala who had more than likely recently left his mother’s home range. He was severely burnt with partial to full thickness burns on his hands, feet, and nose. His fur was singed, so he looked like a dark brown ball, and he was pretty dehydrated.
Ruins Way Baz was immediately treated with fluids and quality nutrition (he was starving), and the following day, his burns were treated under general anesthesia. Baz struggled for many weeks to cope, with staff fearing that we may lose him. We placed Baz in-home care with one of our very experienced carers, who gave him 24 hours, 5-star care. His burns injuries slowly healed, his fur began to regrow, and Baz finally put on weight. In this video, you can see him. It seems he does not want to eat those leaves.
Maria River Road Jan
In the late summer of 2019, a tiny male joey was found curled up in the middle of the road and was lucky not to have been hit by a car.
Once admitted to the Koala Hospital, Jan was found to have an early-stage ocular chlamydial infection, was very underweight, anemic, had a distended abdomen, and was worm-infested. He weighed only 1.3kg but should have been closer to 1.8kg.
Jan was treated for his illnesses and was transferred into home care to receive 24-hour treatment. Following a lot of work and therapy, and despite a few setbacks, Jan became healthy enough to be moved from home care to the Joey yard at the Koala Hospital.
Jan has a delightful nature, and our volunteers love caring for him. As he is still not fit to be released into the wild, Jan may be under the care of the Koala Hospital for quite a while yet.
In this video, you can see him, climbing, eating, and chasing staff’s leg.
Emerald Downs Mary
This young female came to us with a very unusual condition for a koala of her age. Her left eye had very advanced glaucoma which is a condition not unusual in koalas but not normally seen in young animals.
Poor Emerald Downs Mary must have been involved in some sort of physical trauma – a fall from a tree maybe? Mary is a very gentle easy koala so the decision was made to surgically remove the remaining eye which due to the high ocular pressure would have been causing her considerable pain.
As the Koala Hospital has many years of experience in dealing with blind koalas we knew that Mary would cope well with life in captivity as a koala without vision.
In this video, You can see her eating some fresh leaves and climbing up to find those she likes the most.