As I said before, we had our first koala sighting on the way to One-Mile Beach near Nelson Bay, and though that was thrilling it doesn’t compare to the experience we had at the Koala Hospital in Port Macquarie. It was really just chance luck that we found out about it. We were in an “i” center and though the helpful woman had given us a brochure on a koala park in that same area, Mike found the brochure on the Koala Hospital.
Many koalas are injured each year by cars (they are nocturnal and just wander out on to the roadways) and also by dogs (they get up a tree and the dog won’t let them down), bush fires and by the bulldozing of their habitats. The volunteers at the Koala Hospital take these animals in and nurse them back to health. Most patients are able to be release back in to the wild but there are a few that stay on. They have one koala that had to have a leg amputated and though she does fine climbing the trees at the hospital they aren’t sure how she would survive in the wild. Another koala named “Birthday Girl” is the oldest known koala in all of Australia. She is 23 years old!
When we arrived we watched them tag the ear of a young koala. This helps them keep track of the koalas should they end up back at the hospital in the future. This has happened on several occasions. We had a complete tour of the grounds and enclosures and got to watch the volunteers feed the koalas a special lactose-free formula. Did you know that marsupials are lactose intolerant? It is true! They also get lots of fresh eucalyptus leaves that a couple of fellows cut for them each day.
www.koalahospital.org.au is the website for the internationally known Port Macquarie Koala Hospital whose work has been carried out by the Koala Preservation Society of NSW Inc. since 1973. At the end of our tour the volunteer told us that many people adopt koalas for themselves or others as a special gift. One man adopted a koala for his grandmother as a Christmas gift! This hospital is run entirely by donation. The adoptions and funds from the gift shop all help keep their work going and it is pretty important work.
Here is what Gregory wrote in his journal about his day with the koalas (and kangaroos):
April 24th, 2010
Yesterday we saw koalas and today we saw kangaroos!!! Yesterday we went to the Koala Hospital and the first thing I saw was a little koala getting his ear tagged. Then, we took a guided tour from koala to koala and I learned that all marsupials are lactose intolerant so they don’t eat lactose. I had a “K”-awesome time at the Koala Hospital!
Some of the biggest threats to koalas are people are bulldozing koala’s habitats and other threats are dogs, bush fires and motor vehicles. All of them can be fatal so drive carefully please and keep your dogs under control! Thank you! Sincerely, Gregory
This morning my mom and I got to see 4 kangaroos. 2 of them were joeys. One of the joeys was feeding out of the mom’s pouch! They were really cute!