Koalas are fighting a battle for their very survival. They have been for a while, because of deforestation – their habitat has been destroyed by people for their own purposes for "development" - roads, buildings, mining companies, development, etc - and their habitats have been destroyed by wildfires which, this year, have been more ferocious than usual.
So how can you help koalas?
Wherever you are in the world, there is something you can do.
Adopt a koala. There are a number of charities you can do this through, whether you are from Australia or anywhere else in the world. Save the Koala has an adoption scheme. The Koala Hospital enables you to adopt koalas too – the hospital helps injured and sick koalas and aims to release them where possible in the local area.
Become a member of a koala charity. Being a member gives you the chance to support, to be part of a single voice, to receive news and find out ways in which you can help. The Koala Hospital has a membership scheme, as does Friends of the Koala in the Northern Rivers region which has an international membership scheme. The Koala Clancy Foundation has a membership scheme too, as does Bangalow Koalas.
Plant a tree.- it needs to be the right one. Koalas need trees. They need them to rest, for shelter, to move from one area to another. They need trees to eat, both for food and – there’s one tree which gives them medicine. Save the Koala enable you to do this in memory of someone or as a gift or simply for yourself.
Support the Koala Protection Act. Get in touch with politicians and tell them you care. Ask them to help save the koala. Save the Koala has information on how you can do this, both at the national and state level
Spread the word on social media – get the word out that koalas and Australian wildlife need help. The media only talk about human deaths and damage to personal property. It’s as if wildlife don’t exist. Wildlife does exist and they do matter. Raise awareness for them. Be aware of what you can do to help koalas in your area. Koala Rescue Queensland have helpful tips on that. Be a voice for koalas – Friends of the Koala has information on campaigning and advocacy - and help get the word out about how you can help, what needs to be done, the help koalas need.
Volunteer. A number of koala charities welcome volunteers. If you are in Australia or heading there, why not see what you can do to help? Save the Koala is one charity with volunteer opportunities, and international volunteers could volunteer at the Koala Hospital (that’s Port Macquarie and surrounds, New South Wales) – they also have local volunteers. Friends of the Koala also have opportunities for volunteering, for locals, inter-state and international koala lovers. The Koala Clancy Foundation have koala conservation days for local people and they also have corporate tree planting days.
Help koala charities achieve their goals. The Koala Clancy Foundation is looking to plant 300,000 trees by 2030 and save koalas of the You Yangs in Victoria.
Look at where things like your toilet paper and office paper comes from. Does it come from a sustainable source? We need to stop companies logging forests and way to do that is to stop buying products which don't come from sustainable sources so that we essentially force these companies to change their ways. And if they won't go for sustainable products, we need to put them out of business.
The wildfires mean exhausting and heart-breaking work for all those people who are discovering koalas, dead or alive. Koalas climb trees in a wildfire. If they climb high enough, the fire may pass below them. But wildfires are devastating for trees. Consequently many koalas have died, and many more have been burnt, thirsty and all sorts of injuries. The people helping koalas need to know we are all behind them and support their efforts, heart-breaking though they must be. Koalas are very particular about the trees they eat, so it is all the more devastating for them when these trees are destroyed in fire. Find out more here about some of the impact of the 2019 bushfires in Australia.
Please do what you can to give them that support and help people help koalas and restore their habitat.