From June 2019 to early 2020, Australia was devastated by the worst wildfires the country had experienced in decades, burning more than 17.9 million acres and affecting an estimated one billion animals nationwide. According to Sussan Ley, federal environment minister, almost a third of koalas in New South Wales have been killed in the fires, and a third of their habitat has been destroyed.
With the heartbreaking news about the country’s environment and koala population, Shangri-La Hotel, Sydney adopted Anwen, a four- to five-year-old female koala, and Paul, a young koala, through the Adopt a Koala program at Port Macquarie’s Koala Hospital.
In November 2019, Anwen was the first female koala brought to the hospital with burnt hands, feet, arms and fur. For months, Anwen sat quietly in a basket in the Intensive Care Unit before her wounds healed. After she was transferred to an external rehabilitation yard and her bandages were removed, Anwen became increasingly active and revealed her cheeky side as she enjoyed freedom in her new surroundings. With the hotel’s support, Anwen received the excellent care she needed, which allowed her to heal and flourish at the hospital.
Kieron Hunt, resident manager of Shangri-La Hotel, Sydney, drove five hours to the North Coast of New South Wales to meet Anwen and witness the extraordinary work the hospital undertakes to rehabilitate the beloved Australian marsupial.
“We all felt helpless in the face of such incomprehensible wildlife loss, and we decided to support an organization at a grass roots level that is making a difference,” said Hunt. “I wanted to personally visit to let the team know our Shangri-La family cares about the invaluable work they are doing to nurture koalas back to health.”
In April 2020, Anwen returned to her home in the wild, which has regenerated beautifully.
Paul arrived at the hospital with singed fur on over 90% of his body. With good hydration, nutrition and medical care, the hospital hopes Paul will recover and be released back into the Australian Bush.
Thank you to the dedicated team at Port Macquarie’s Koala Hospital and all organizations throughout Australia that are helping the country’s wildlife return home.