A school gym at Paradise Primary School in Adelaide, Australia, has turned into a make-shift koala hospital, where foldable playpens serve as hopsital beds.
According to Daily Mail, Adelaide Koala Rescue set up the impromptu emergency room to help the dozens of koalas affected by the Cuddle Creek fire, one of numerous wildfires that have burned through Australia since September.
The little hospital is powered by over 150 volunteers, many of them veterinarians, who help care for the koalas injured in the blaze around the clock, reports 7 News.
The animals are separated into different pens based on their needs and circumstances. There is a pen for orphaned marsupials, another for burn victims and even one for koalas with chlamydia — a disease that is unfortunately common among koalas.
“We’ve had a few come in that were just singed all over,” Jane Brister, director of Adelaide Koala Rescue, told the Daily Mail about some of the hospital’s recent patients. “It’s almost as though they were curled in a ball when the flames, the heat just went straight over the top of them.”
All of the marsupial patients have names and medical charts, and are closely followed through their recovery process. Once caretakers feel like a koala is fully healed and able to climb and thrive outside, the animal is released back into the wild.
Adelaide Koala Rescue has already released dozens of koalas from their makeshift hospital back into bits of bush unaffected by Australia’s wildfires.
These successes are thanks in part to the outpouring of kindness the rescue has received from strangers, including over $147,000 in donations to the rescue’s GoFundMe page.
“We’ve also got people volunteering to come and deliver browse (trees) for the koalas, we’ve got people volunteering to wash all the towels that we go through for the bedding,” Brister said. “The community support has been wonderful.”
The koalas under Adelaide Koala Rescue’s care are the lucky ones. Experts estimate that the bushfires raging across Australia have killed over one billion animals, potentially leaving some species at the brink of extinction.
To learn more about how you can help the humans and animals affected by Australia’s wildfires, click here.