Late last year you may remember Zoos Victoria announced that 14 bushfire-affected koalas were released back to their homes in East Gippsland. Here’s an update on how they are doing.

After multiple surgeries for severe burns and treatment at Healesville Sanctuary, followed by rehabilitation at Phillip Island Nature Parks, vets have now completed the first checks on the koalas’ overall health and that they are making good life choices back in the wild.

The koalas were tracked using the GPS collars placed on them when they were released and involved many hours of trekking to find which tree they now call home. Ecologists were needed to use tree-climbing techniques to gently encourage the koalas to climb down the trees to the waiting veterinarians – an impressive feat by all!

The best part: most of the koalas have been given the health tick of approval, and are thriving at home, in the wild, where they belong. Sadly one koala, Rivers, was found to be suffering from kidney disease and was humanely euthanized.

All of the koalas will continue to be closely monitored for four months after their release and checked regularly as part of this ongoing project.

They may not know it, but the whole world is barracking for them.

Hear from the team on the ground and watch our koala health check update here.

The recovery from the 2020 bushfires has a long road ahead, and takes the support of many organizations, specialists and of course, the community. Thank you for supporting and donating to the Bushfire Emergency Wildlife Fund,

This research project is one of the wildlife welfare activities identified in the Victoria Government-led Bushfire Biodiversity Response and Recovery Plan. This unique monitoring and research program is being funded by the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning, International Fund for Animal Welfare and Zoos Victoria’s Bushfire Emergency Wildlife Fund, along with in-kind support from Phillip Island Nature Parks, EcoPlan Australia and Parks Victoria.

We’re looking forward to providing another update soon,

Zoos Victoria