Most of a koala’s life is spent sleeping to help digest its diet of eucalyptus leaves – and they are fussy eaters who will only consume the best leaves! You can’t cuddle the critters when you drop by the Koala Hospital in Port Macquarie (that’s possible in Cairns) but a visit to this wildlife rehab facility can leave you feeling warm and fuzzy. Set up by Max and Jane Starr in 1973, the Koala Hospital runs on the loving care of its volunteers. Sick and injured wild koalas are tended to in intensive care units, and rehab yards with trees for recovering koalas to practise climbing.
A volunteer who is nursing this koala at home, brings him in for a check-up to the Koala Hospital at Port Macquarie, NSW. Photo: Diviya Mehra
Rescued koalas and their issues listed at the entrance of the hospital. “Wet bottom” is a common symptom of chlamydiosis in a koala. Photo: Diviya Mehra
Koala Hospital has around 250 admissions a year. You’d think these adorable marsupials have an easy life, but one of the most common reasons for koala sickness is chlamydiosis, which usually occurs when the marsupial is stressed by, say, habitat loss. Vehicle accidents, dog attacks and bush fire are the other major threats to a koala’s wellbeing. If you can’t squeeze in a visit to the Koala Hospital, you can “adopt” a koala which has been successfully treated and released into its home range.
A koala on a wheelchair welcomes you at the beginning of a walking tour, which is conducted every day at 3p.m. when the koalas are fed. Photo: Diviya Mehra
For all their cuteness, one of a koala’s signature sounds is a “bellow” – likened to a loud snore followed by a belch. Photo: Diviya Mehra
Koala Hospital Roto House Historic Site, Lord Street, Port Macquarie, New South Wales, Australia. Daily 8a.m.-4.30p.m; feeding at 8a.m. and 3p.m. Free entry.
is the former Art Director at National Geographic Traveller India. Besides being an absolute foodie, she loves exploring secret nooks of places for local arts and crafts.
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