Port Macquarie Koala Hospital advances planning for wild koala breeding program

Future focus: Matt Whatman has joined the koala hospital team as he works on two pivotal projects.
Future focus: Matt Whatman has joined the koala hospital team as he works on two pivotal projects.

Port Macquarie Koala Hospital is making good progress as it sets the foundations for a wild koala breeding program after an international outpouring of generosity.

A GoFundMe campaign launched in response to bushfire devastation raised $7.9 million to fast-track the introduction of the wild koala breeding program and buy and distribute wildlife drinking stations.

Some 140 wildlife drinking stations are in place across NSW, Queensland and Victoria.

One in five drinking stations is equipped with camera technology which will provide valuable data.

The koala hospital is putting the foundations in place for the wild koala breeding program.

Koala Conservation Australia president Sue Ashton said the right foundations were important given the scale of the project.

"Our goal is to get one site up and running and that will become a prototype for future sites," she said.

Mrs Ashton said bushfires decimated the koala population and to be able to rebuild koala numbers was going to be a great win.

Three breeding sites are planned in a step towards ensuring the survival of healthy wild koalas.

The aim is to create a world's best practice wild koala breeding program which other organisations can use as a blueprint.

Port Macquarie Koala Hospital is in talks with a number of partners as it works towards the program's introduction.

Matt Whatman is on board as program manager of the wild koala breeding program and the koala hospital redevelopment.

The koala hospital redevelopment project is in the preconstruction phase.

The project planning is being finalised and the koala hospital is working towards engaging an architect.

The redevelopment will be funded through a $5 million grant from the state government and a $1.25 million contribution from the koala hospital.

The transformation will provide a raised walkway through the trees, new rehabilitation and permanent resident koala yards, training, research and education spaces, a shop, koala museum and theatrette.

There will also be interpretive signs, new clinic, administration area, Indigenous storytelling space and educational nature walks.

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