All along the highway we’ve been passing signs that advise you to watch for koalas crossing and a number to call if you find one injured. When we learned of a koala hospital in Port Macquarie we of course had to check it out. That there is a place dedicated 24/7 to koala care shows what a much-loved icon these little fur balls are to the country. After having the chance to hold one of these snuggly guys I’ve been a bit obsessed with them myself.
Fortunately for the koalas, these people are legit. Fully stocked with a koala ambulance, 8 indoor intensive care units, 6 outdoor intensive care units and 33 rehabilitation yards – It’s no joke. Most commonly, the hospital gets calls from car accidents, dog attacks, bird attacks and serious cases of Chlamydia. Yes, you read that right. Unfortunately a significant number of the koala population have caught the disease and it’s spread quickly. There is not exactly ‘safe sex’ practices to aid the problem. The result is blindness, which makes them exceptionally vulnerable in the wild, and infertility, which is clearly straining population numbers. Who would’ve thought?
Our favorite impatient was Barry – An old bloke who has been a permanent resident of the hospital for 10 years. When they found him he was very small so it was difficult to assume his age. They soon realized he suffered from scoliosis and kyphosis which means that his spine is both curved outward and to the side, making it difficult to breathe at times. He watched us from his towel draped tree (adjusted for comfort) with his distinctive humpback, looking like the sweet grandpa koala he is. Knowing that he wouldn’t have made it another year out in the wild, it’s sweet to see him perfectly content in his little jungle cube they’ve assimilated.
When we were offered to purchase an array of greeting cards with photos and success stories of koala rescues for a small donation, I went nuts. We haven’t bought many trinkets or souvenirs on the trip, but I was excited to send them to my favorite friends and family members (if you’re reading this, you were of course on the list!)… The sad ending of this story is that my stupid self left them at a picnic table the following day. I was absolutely devastated. Fingers crossed a good Samaritan comes along and mails the few that were addressed… You just may be expecting mail after all! Do you believe in koala karma?