Research of Cuddly Koalas Set to Skyrocket Due to Donations

Research of Cuddly Koalas Set to Skyrocket Due to Donations

Note: This article may contain commentary or the author's opinion.

Everyone loves how cute and cuddly koalas look. They bring smiles to the faces of many but are considered endangered. This is because of mass habitat loss from multiple things including, but not limited to, drought, bushfires, and disease. As of 2021, the total population has fallen below 100,000 to around 92,000, per the Threatened Species Scientific Committee. That’s why WIRES has stepped in.

Wildlife Information Rescue and Education Service Inc (WIRES) has announced a three-year award to the Koala Health Hub (KHH), a University of Sydney drive to help koala care, the executives, and examination. The award will support the KHH and permit it to answer the expanding need for koala care and the board following ongoing bushfires and dry seasons.

“WIRES fully support the critical work being undertaken by Koala Health Hub,” said WIRES CEO Leanne Taylor. “Thanks to the incredible financial support we received in response to Australia’s bushfires we are now in the position to fund this significant research initiative,” she continued. “The plight of Australian native animals and in particular the koala is in the spotlight and we need to take action now and do whatever it takes to halt the decline of their numbers in the wild,”

The gift of $1,012,399 is the most significant one-time living donation made to the University’s School of Veterinary Science, where the Koala Health Hub sits. Donations to WIRES were made by neighborhood and worldwide benefactors including from the U.S., U.K., Europe, and Asia.

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WIRES’ funding will assist KHH with offering analytic help, aptitude, coordination, and correspondence to recovery, university, and government areas. This incorporates financing postdoctoral specialists and three Ph.D. understudies, who’ll add to Australia’s pool of wildlife expertise and provide more’ boots on the ground’ to respond to critical inquiries to help koala management.

As indicated by Koala Health Hub Director, Associate Professor Damien Higgins, this gift praises the generous public donations to WIRES during the bushfires by giving the resources to more readily deal with the recovery of surviving koalas and to better plan for future occasions.

“The Koala Health Hub was established in 2015, and WIRES has been a valued collaborator from the start. Their support now will make a really significant difference to what we can achieve for koala care and conservation following the recent bushfires and drought,” he said. “Population recovery will require sound evidence-based decisions across habitat management, captive breeding and translocation, as well as coordination and capacity building in the rescue and rehabilitation sector. In addition to supporting our own research, the funding will further enable the great work being done by other koala care, research and government groups, so the benefits of this funding go far beyond KHH.”

It’s great to see teams forming to help bring the koalas back from the brink since they already battle other issues such as chlamydia, a disease that can cause blindness and reproductive tract infections typically brought on during stressful situations. Likewise, they also fight to keep their homes, and when not from the bushfires, from us. They have nowhere to go when their forest habitat is disturbed or destroyed. With their trees (homes) knocked over or gone, they spend more time on the ground in search of shelter or food. That’s when they become most vulnerable and have run-ins with dogs, are hit by vehicles, or get sick with chlamydia due to stress. 

We look forward to the endeavor KHH and WIRES seek to accomplish in bringing the cute, cuddly furball back and, hopefully, help them thrive.