ANU is helping save koalas from bushfires. You can too

17 February 2020

We've set up a fund to care for koalas displaced and injured by bushfires. Donations will also power onging research to protect them and their habitats from climate change. 

As bushfires ravaged much of southeastern Australia, researchers from The Australian National University stepped in to help save one of the nation's most iconic native animals - the koala.

They are providing much needed care and a temporary home for koalas from the Snowy Mountains displaced and injured by Australia's bushfire crisis.

Three of the koalas have been named after the American aerial firefighters tragically killed in the air-tanker crash in southeast NSW - Ian McBeth, Paul Hudson and Rick DeMorgan Jr. The three koalas were found in the same region.  

The researchers' work has made international headlines, and now ANU has launched a new fund to assist their work.

The University has set up the Koala Conservation and Protection Fund to support the temporary housing of bushfire affected koalas as well as ongoing research to assist their recovery and protection.

ANU researcher Dr Karen Ford, who is an expert in koala nutrition, is running the "five-star koala hotel" on campus in Canberra.

"We have more than 30 koalas at ANU that have come in from the various fire grounds in the region," said Dr Ford.

"They just keep arriving. There is nowhere else that has the facilities to hold these animals or this many at the moment."

There are 26 koalas rescued from the wild currently at ANU, as well as six that have been transported from Tidbinbilla nature reserve in the ACT.   

The University has been working alongside local wildlife agencies to receive the koalas, including accepting koalas from the Two Thumbs Wildlife Trust Koala Sanctuary which burnt down during the fires.

Gifts to the fund will be used to immediately care for the koalas, assisting our team to nurse them back to full health and, in time, to reintroduce them into the wild and track their progress.

Donations made to the fund will also support research which will examine the impact of bushfires and climate change on koalas and their habitat. Gifts can be made in Australian and US dollars.