TV vet Dr Chris Brown has showcased the incredible bushfire recovery work by the Port Macquarie Koala Hospital and its volunteers.
The Koala Hospital gained worldwide attention as a result of the horrific Black Summer fires where thousands of koalas and their habitat were wiped out.
A GoFundMe page set up to build water drinking stations raised an incredible $7.8 million.
Nabiac Austen, was rescued from the Pacific Highway south of Port Macquarie at the height of the fires on the Mid North Coast. Rescuer Josh ran on the road to save the severely burned koala who has spent the last six months recuperating at the koala hospital..
Dr Brown reunited the koala, named after Josh's son, with its rescuer in an online education documentary to mark World Environment Day. It was a celebration of the Koala Hospital's success story when returning Nabiac Austen to the wild.
"He almost looked at me as if "I'm ready for human help"," Josh explained of the day he found the suffering koala.
"It's a massive privilege," he said of the opportunity to see the koala returned home.
NRMA Insurance partnered with the Port Macquarie Koala Hospital to create a virtual excursion for kids, hosted by Dr Brown.
Named 'Koala Help', the virtual interactive excursion, aimed at school-age children across Australia, includes a behind the scenes tour of the hospital facilities, and interviews with some of the hardworking volunteers who are committed to caring for the koalas.
During the excursion, there is a special reunion between a rescued koala, who was injured during the recent bushfires, and the motorist who rescued him from the side of the road, before he is released back to his home in the wild.
Port Macquarie Koala Hospital Director Cheyne Flanagan said this is the first time a virtual tour will take place at the Koala Hospital and we're excited to share our work in rehabilitating koalas with the future wildlife warriors of Australia.
"The lives and homes of so many precious koalas were lost over the 201 days that the fires burnt in and around Port Macquarie. After being found on a highway suffering burn injuries the koala has had a remarkable recovery and we're delighted to be able to return him home," Ms Flanagan said.
Dr Brown said the recent bushfires were one of the biggest disasters to hit the nation and now, more than ever, koalas need help to survive.
"I can't wait to take the kids of Australia on this virtual tour so they can see first-hand the vital work the Port Macquarie Koala Hospital is undertaking to preserve and protect these special native animals."
NRMA Insurance marketing director Sally Kiernan said with COVID-19 limiting opportunities for physical school excursions, it hopes Koala Help will provide children and their parents with an interactive way to learn about koala conservation and help them understand why their homes need to be protected.
In November 2019, NRMA Insurance made a further commitment to help the koalas, in response to the devastating bushfires, by partnering with Port Macquarie Koala Hospital and providing essential on-the-ground supplies like water drinking stations and additional enclosures to house injured koalas.
In addition, NRMA Insurance launched a social media campaign highlighting the incredible work of the Port Macquarie Koala Hospital team and helped raise awareness of the hospital's GoFundMe campaign, which received generous donations from around Australia and the world.
The video is also available on NRMA Insurance's YouTube channel.
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