Fires south of Port Macquarie (Crestwood) have recently devastated bushland which has a high number of breeding koalas in the area. This group of koalas is one of the most genetically diverse groups in Australia and is of enormous national significance.
There are fears as many as 350 koalas have perished with approximately 75% of the fireground footprint being prime koala habitat.
The Port Macquarie Koala Hospital is an animal welfare, scientific research and education facility that will send out and conduct search and rescue exercises in the hope of finding surviving koalas. Any surviving koalas will be brought into the Port Macquarie Koala Hospital for assessment and treatment.
Dr Chris Brown writes:
With bushfires already decimating our koala population over the weekend, tomorrow looms as a potentially catastrophic day for our wildlife. But here’s what you can do to help avoid an animal tragedy...
Extreme temperatures and high winds mean they’re currently standing, hopping or just hanging in the path of a potential disaster.
Here’s your checklist:
📍In extreme heat, wildlife (like koalas) will be thirsty. A Sydney University study found that water stations (like water fountains and troughs) are a lifesaver as leaves alone won’t keep koalas hydrated. These water stops are even more crucial in areas recovering from fire and benefit huge numbers of animals. 📍Donate to wildlife rescue charities. The Port Macquarie Koala Hospital GoFundMe page link is a good one. 📍Donate equipment and supplies to WIRES
If you’re ALREADY in a fire affected area and encounter injured wildlife: 📍Ensure it’s safe to be there 📍Take photos of the animal, note your location and call a wildlife rescuer. 📍Animals in shock can die from stress so keep handling to a minimum. 📍If you know what you’re doing, you may carefully approach and move the animal into a cardboard box or other container using gloves, a towel or a t-shirt. 📍On a hot day keep this box in a cool, shaded, well-ventilated spot while you transfer the animal to a vet clinic or wildlife rescue centre. 📍If they appear injured or burnt, do not offer food or water. In a crisis situation they will need specialised diets and fluids.