Makeshift Koala Rehab Center Pops Up In School Gym Amid Australia Wildfires

by Madison Vanderberg
Originally Published: 
ABC Perth

Koala “hospital” pops up in Adelaide, Australia school gym in the wake of devastating bushfires

As Australia continues to battle the deadly wildfires sweeping the country, Adelaide Koala Rescue with the help of more than 150 volunteers, including veterinarians, have jumped in to save the koalas as their natural habitats are destroyed by the fire. However, as koalas in need outnumber the animal hospitals in the area, a makeshift hospital has popped up in a school gym, just North of Adelaide.

10 News First Adelaide reports that 100 koalas have been treated at the makeshift hospital and already 30 have been rehabilitated and released back into the wild. 7 News reports that the center is functioning like a true hospital with different wings like the intensive care unit, a burns unit, and a baby section. Koalas are also given indoor and outdoor trees to climb and play on.

However, the volunteers and koalas desperately need to find a new home before the school year resumes at the end of the month.

Over in Kangaroo Island, an island off the coast of South Australia, 7 News estimates that 25,000 koalas may have died in the bushfires, and the situation is even worse, because if anyone does happen to rescue any of the native animals, they aren’t allowed to be treated on the mainland — like in the school gym hospital — for fear of contamination, because as The Huffington Post reports, the Kangaroo Island koalas are the only chlamydia-free population of koalas in Australia.

Despite this, a group of local teens have gone viral for driving around the island and rescuing displaced koalas in their car.

“Just trying to collect as many live ones as we can,” one of the teenagers says in the video.

The good news is that teens are re-locating the koalas to their neighbor’s house, who has a permit to rescue and rehabilitate wildlife.

As the wildfires continue to burn, a number of celebrities have pledged millions of dollars in wildfire relief. Aussies like Chris Hemsworth and Nicole Kidman have personally donated money to help out and Lizzo even stopped her world tour to pack food at Foodbank Australia. As for the South Australian and federal government, they’ve announced an $11 million funding package, and the Australian Defence Force has already launched recovery and relief efforts.

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