It's hoped the world's first wild breeding program will be successful to bolster the population of koalas on the Mid North Coast.
The Koala Hospital Port Macquarie president Sue Ashton is confident the program will be achieve its goal, after months of planning.
"We're guinea pigs in a way because this has never been done before and it's such a high profile breeding program, that we all want to get it right," she said.
"Koala have been bred in captivity for a long time.
"The difference with this program is these koalas will be sourced from the wild."
Mrs Ashton said 2021 was a busy year of planning and researching to obtain a scientific licence for the project.
The breeding program will take place with healthy and wild koalas at the new Koala Hospital facility within the Cowarra State Forest, based just one kilometre from the Pacific Highway between Port Macquarie and Wauchope.
The program has been funded by public donations received by the Koala Hospital, as a result of the 2019/2020 bushfires.
Major partners include Taronga Conservation Society, University of Sydney, University of Newcastle and the Australian Museum.
As part of phase one, in 2022 the program is aiming to recruit 15 females and 15 males into the wild breeding program. It's hoped five joeys will be born as a result.
By 2034 it's anticipated 35 joeys will be born each year.
Mrs Ashton said the wild koalas will be placed in large yards which mirror their natural environment.
"Some of the enclosures are 200 square metres, which is just huge," she said.
Mrs Ashton said it will be a challenge to find healthy koalas to breed.
Drones and specially trained dogs will be used to help identify where the koalas are in the wild.
"We know there are healthy populations but they are in decline," she said.
"Being able to locate them is going to be a real challenge."
Mrs Ashton said the program is huge but they're determined to get it right.
"We'll learn a lot and we'll share those findings with other wildlife care groups," she said.
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