School Turns Into A Hospital For Koalas Orphaned And Injured By Australia’s Wildfires

In Adelaide, Australia, the school gymnasium at Paradise Primary School has received a transformation into a make-shift koala hospital – complete with hospital beds made out of foldable playpens.

According to Daily Mail and People Magazine, the impromptu emergency room was set up by the Adelaide Koala Rescue, and has already taken in dozens of koalas injured by the Cuddle Creek Fire – one of many wildfires that have been raging across Australia since September.

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We’ve all got a little crush on Tank. This beautiful, buff boy clearly avoided the fires in Cudlee Creek. He was picked up by AKR Crew tonight in an area now devoid of gum trees. Tank wasn’t coping after the extreme heat today – there’s not much shade left in his territory. He came into our emergency koala centre dehydrated and with a high body temp. We’re currently cooling him down a little and giving him fluids. We expect he’ll be fine after TLC but now where to release him… Call AKR 24/7 on 0413 185 771 for rescue and/or koala advice only To donate or volunteer visit akr.org.au #tank #buff #gorgeousboy #luckyone #cudleecreek #bushfire #adelaidehills #adelaidekoalarescue

A post shared by Adelaide Koala Rescue (@adelaidekoalarescue) on Jan 9, 2020 at 6:23am PST

As 7 News reports, the small makeshift hospital has been staffed by more than 150 volunteers, many of them veterinarians, who are helping to provide around the clock care for these injured koalas.

All the koalas are separated into different pens depending on their needs and circumstances. There are pens for orphaned koalas, burned koalas, and even one for koalas who have chlamydia – something that is surprisingly but unfortunately very common amongst koalas.

Jane Brister, director of Adelaide Koala Rescue, spoke to the Daily Mail about some of the recent patients in the hospital and said, “We’ve had a few come in that were just singed all over. It’s almost as though they were curled in a ball when the flames, the heat just went straight over the top of them.”

All of the koala patients have received names and medical charts, and they are being closely monitored throughout their recoveries. Once the staff feel that one of their patients is fully healed and able to climb and live happily outside, the koala is then released back into the wild.

Adelaide Koala Rescue has already released dozens of recovered koalas back into the bits of bush that were unaffected by Australia’s wildfires.

These successful releases are thanks in part to the outpouring of kindness the rescue has received from strangers – including the more than $147,000 donations gifted to the rescue’s GoFundMe page.

“We’ve also got people volunteering to come and deliver browse (trees) for the koalas, we’ve got people volunteering to wash all the towels that we go through for the bedding. The community support has been wonderful,” said Brister.

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There’s never a dull moment or break for Adelaide Koala Rescue. “Grubby” was spotted tonight in a spindly roadside tree. The little man is too young to be alone. He’s covered in tree sap and dirt has stuck to it – he’s very grubby indeed. We think we found his mum nearby but she was fast asleep and high up a tree on the other side of a very busy road. She couldn’t hear Grubby over the traffic noise. Grubby will spend a few hours with AKR until the traffic quietens down. We’ll try again to reunite joey with mum like we have many times before. In the meantime Grubby will be cleaned up so he’s respectable for his mum #grubby #justababy #whereismum #reunite #adelaide #southaustralia #adelaidekoalarescue

A post shared by Adelaide Koala Rescue (@adelaidekoalarescue) on Nov 24, 2019 at 2:57am PST

The koalas under the care of Adelaide Koala Rescue are the lucky ones, as experts are estimating that more than a billion animals have been killed in the Australian bushfires – a tragedy which has potentially left some species close to extinction.

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Anastasia is an American writer and journalist living in Dublin, Ireland. Her Twitter is @AnastasiaArell5.
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