ANU raises dollars for down and out 'drop bears'

ANU raises dollars for down and out 'drop bears'

New fund to care for koalas injured and displaced by bushfires and help protect them from climate change.

As bushfires ravaged much of southeastern Australia, researchers from The Australian National University stepped in to help save one of the nation's most iconic native animals - the koala.

The researchers are providing much needed care and a temporary home for koalas from the Snowy Mountains that have been injured and displaced by Australia's bushfires.

Three of the koalas are named after the American aerial firefighters tragically killed in the air-tanker crash in southeast NSW - Ian McBeth, Paul Hudson and Rick DeMorgan Jr. The three koalas were found in the same region. 

The researchers' work has made international headlines, and now ANU has launched a new fund to assist their work.

The University has set up the Koala Conservation and Protection Fund to support the temporary housing of bushfire-affected koalas as well as ongoing research to assist their recovery and protection.

Researchers Dr Karen Ford and Dr Kara Youngentob are running the "five-star koala hotel" at ANU in Canberra.

"Koalas that need care continue to arrive. Fortunately, we are now working with wildlife care organisations in the region to find appropriate, long-term accommodation until they can be returned to the wild,” Dr Ford said.

The University has been working alongside local wildlife agencies to receive the koalas, including accepting koalas from the Two Thumbs Wildlife Trust Koala Sanctuary, which burnt down during the fires.

"There are just over 20 koalas rescued from the wild currently at ANU. We also helped Tidbinbilla nature reserve house six koalas temporarily that have now been returned to their home, happy and healthy," Dr Youngentob. 

Gifts to the fund will be used to care for the koalas, assisting our team to nurse them back to full health and, in time, to reintroduce them into the wild and track their progress.

Donations made to the fund will also support research that will examine the impact of bushfires and climate change on koalas and their habitat. Gifts can be made in Australian and US dollars.

All proceeds raised go to the ANU Koala Conservation and Protection Fund.

For media assistance contact James Giggacher on +61 436 803 488 or the ANU Media Team on +61 2 6125 7979 or media@anu.edu.au  

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