The Port Macquarie Koala Hospital has grown from a single building 45 years ago into a tourist attraction, scientific research and education centre and a wildlife rehabilitation facility.
The koala hospital, which attracts more than 100,000 tourists a year and cares for up to 250 koalas annually, celebrated its 45th birthday on December 18.
Port Macquarie Koala Hospital clinical director Cheyne Flanagan said when the koala hospital started there were no rehabilitation wildlife manuals and no wildlife vets.
“They were pioneers and they just got in and did it,” she said.
“We are working on the foundation of what others have done and we’ve pushed it even further and will push it even more.”
Ms Flanagan said research was the driver behind the koala hospital’s actions.
The koala population is in serious decline on the coast.
Vortex modelling, which is a type of wildlife modelling, shows we have about five years to reverse the decline of koalas on the coast.
“We can achieve it with a lot of hard work,” Ms Flanagan said.
President Jane Duxberry said the koala hospital was a drawcard for tourism, bringing a lot of money into the region.
The koala hospital is also active in the research and education fields.
She said the focus remained on the koalas.
Port Macquarie MP Leslie Williams acknowledged former presidents Bob Sharpham and Eunice Moran, all the past office bearers and the volunteers.
The koala hospital has more than 160 volunteers.
She said the koala hospital was one of the most visited tourist attractions in the area.
A new sign was unveiled to mark the 45th birthday.
Meredith Ryan from FAWNA presented a certificate to celebrate 45 years of remarkable achievements for the koala.
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