Koalas are fighting a battle for their very survival. They have been for a while, because of disease and 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.
So how can you help koalas?
Wherever you are in the world, there is something you can do.
1. Help charities with their goals Become familiar with the mission and goals of koala charities and see what you can do to help them fulfil their mission. For instance, the Koala Clancy Foundationis looking to plant 300,000 trees by 2030 and save koalas of the You Yangs in Victoria. How can you make a difference? In 2023, they've planted the most trees they've ever planted in a year, with 33,518 trees going into the ground - a tremendous group effort by everyone including volunteers, supporters and donors. Groups can make a difference! Find out more about that wonderful achievement here.
2. Subscribe to charities’ newsletters or become a member It helps to keep in touch with news, updates, events, appeals and so on because then you can know what you can do to help. You don’t have to do this for all koala charities – just one or two will do! The Koala Clancy Foundation has a membership scheme too, as does Bangalow Koalas.
3. Be proactive in following a koala charity online You can then get retweeting, sharing, liking – and even sharing how you’re getting involved. Why not tag local politicians to show them that you care about koalas?
4. Give koalas some habitat - Plant a tree A number of koala conservation charities are planting trees and working with landowners, supported by volunteers and donors. Plant a 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.
Businesses, why not have a team building day helping with a tree planting? This could be great PR for your comapny and give employees something meaningful and different to do.
5. Protect the habitat that’s there already Landowners can work with local koala organisations to enable them to protect land already frequented by koalas and other wildlife. Some habitats will need restoring so that they are suitable again for koalas.
6. Be a voice for koalas You can shout out for koalas and raise awareness of the challenges they face and how people can help on social media. 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.
7. Be political! Join in and raise awareness amongst politicians and local community organisations, showing them that people DO care about koalas and wildlife and want to preserve them. Look to see what campaigns koala charities are running and how you can get involved and give them your support. The Australian Koala Foundation has a letter you can send to a politician. And they’ve got a Koala Manifesto, too. And please 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
8. Join the Koala Army The Koala Army was set up by the Australian Koala Foundation – they have all the resources you’ll need to fly the flag for koalas, including a battle plan!
9. Volunteer Many koala charities need help from volunteers in all sorts of ways, from practical help and support with activities such as tree planting days, or fundraising or helping with office work. Some have volunteer opportunities for people from outside Australia, too! More hands makes for light work, as the saying goes! 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.
10. Donate Simply donate if you can – koala charities will have all sorts of needs depending on what they are focusing on. Some may need funds to help care for koalas bought in to rescue, whilst others will be looking for funds to help them plant trees or even run a campaign.
You can make a straight donation, or donate to an appeal; but you could also do something as a gift for a loved one, such as making a donation on their behalf, or adopting a koala. Save the Koala has an adoption scheme, as does the Koala Hospital
10. Make a note of dates for your diary Wild Koala Day is on 3rd May every year, whilst Save the Koala Month runs in September. There are always lots of events taking place so these events are a great opportunity to spread the word about the challenges facing koalas and ways to get involved in helping them.
Finally, we can all be more environmentally friendly in life. The Australian Koala Foundation pointed out that there are 8 billion of us on this planet. If every single person did one small thing for the planet – that would be 8 billion people making a small change or doing something to make a difference. That would add up to quite an incredible effort!
Please think about wildlife at home and when you’re out and about You could leave water out for wildlife in your garden so that they have something to drink, especially when temperatures are at their hottest.
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.