WITH habitat destruction, vehicle strikes and dog attacks to deal with, life can be hard for Port Stephens koalas.
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However, the Port Stephens Koala Sanctuary could be one of the factors that has things looking up for the Ports favourite furry friends.
Four rehabilitation pens have been opened at the facility, allowing for koalas to move from home care regimes into a purpose built care facility.
Kate Washington told News Of The Area, “I would like to extend a big thank you to all the dedicated and committed volunteers that have made opening this stage of the facility possible.”
She believes that Port Stephens koalas are about to be listed as an endangered species.
“It is the responsibility of the community to do all that we can to save Port Stephens koalas,” she said.
The Port Stephens Koala Sanctuary was made possible through a $124,000 grant from the State Government Community Building Partnership which was supported by Kate Washington.
Port Stephens General Manager Wayne Wallis said, “It is our job to work together with the community, to ensure the viability of Port Stephens koalas for many generations to come.”
He believes the facility when fully funded and developed has the potential not only to protect Port Stephens koalas but to create an international tourism drawcard for the region.
“What is here now is only the tip of the iceberg,” he said.
Tolley is just one example of the koalas, who will stay at the sanctuary which is based within Treescapes at One Mile Beach which is situated on Crown Land.
At 8-10 years old Tolley has been coming into the care of Port Stephens Koalas every summer since 2011, he lived in Mambo Wanda Wetlands and was usually found in distress and dehydrated on the cycleway.
Tolley has been in care since last summer and was diagnosed through blood tests sent to Sydney University as having a fungal infection, he has also suffered a bout of Chlamydia this year.
After a prolonged stay at the Port Macquarie Koala hospital, Tolley has only just come back to Port Stephens and is now in his forever home, at the Port Stephens Koala Sanctuary.
It is hoped that the Port Stephens Koala Sanctuary will allow our local volunteers to keep sick and injured koalas locally while they are cared for and for as many koalas as possible to be released back into the wild.
By Marian SAMPSON