Port Macquarie Koala Hospital clinical director Cheyne Flanagan said the response had been overwhelming. "We will manage this money very carefully. This is public money, it's not our money," she said.
A GoFundMe page seeking to raise A$25,000 to help non-profit authority Port Macquarie Koala Hospital in New South Wales cope with treating the wildfire injured in the bushfires in Australia has had more than A$1.864 million pledged.
GoFundMe stated 43,100 donations have been made to the fund from over 90 countries since 31 October.
Port Macquarie Koala Hospital, on the Mid-North Coast, sought A$25,000 to purchase and distribute automatic drinking stations which would be installed in the burnt areas to help in koala and wildlife survival.
“We will manage this money very carefully,” she said.
“This is public money, it’s not our money.”
Port Macquarie Koala Hospital said on its GoFundMe page that the number of drinking stations being built has been increased and they will be shared with other wildlife organisations in fire affected regions across New South Wales. Two are being built for dispatch to the northern rivers fire area.
“We are also purchasing a water carrying vehicle with fire fighting capabilities to replenish the drinking stations with water as needed,” stated Port Macquarie Koala Hospital.
“Donations have now reached an incredible amount and we are extending the project to establish a wild koala breeding program.
“In what is a national tragedy, the bushfires in and around Port Macquarie in November, devastated a genetically diverse koala population. As many as 350 koalas have perished with approximately 75% of the fireground footprint being prime koala habitat.
“Some of the funds raised through the Go Fund Me site will be directed to building a ‘Koala Ark’, a facility to allow the surviving koalas to be accommodated in a healthy habitat area. Hopefully, these koalas will breed and a new population of koalas will be established for return to the wild.”
Port Macquarie Koala Hospital is a not-for-profit organisation and has stated that the GoFundMe funds would be independently administered. The money can only be used for the purposes stipulated on the GoFundMe page.
The koala hospital has about 33 koalas in care from fires in Lake Innes Nature Reserve, Crowdy Bay National Park, Bellangry State Forest and the Taree area.
Flanagan said the koala hospital used some of the donated money to build two enclosures on private property as it had run out of room with the influx of koalas from the fires, which were south of Port Macquarie.
The bushfire threat continues in many parts of Australia.
At 12.30pm there are 119 fires burning, 49 are not contained. One fire is at the Emergency Warning. A total of 1,952 personnel are working to control the blazes. Temperatures are cooler today but strong winds are forecast for the afternoon. #nswrfs #nswfires pic.twitter.com/hd7KwPo51f
— NSW RFS (@NSWRFS) December 2, 2019
Morning QLD! 🌞
The Fire Danger Rating will climb to SEVERE in parts of the state today. Here’s how you can help:
❗️Stay up-to-date with warnings
❗️Have a current bushfire survival plan
❗️Follow advice of QFES and other authorities
❗️Avoid activities that could start a fire pic.twitter.com/tascU9lkCR
— Qld Fire & Emergency (@QldFES) December 1, 2019
Fire Danger Ratings declared for the Midwest Gascoyne: https://t.co/RjDmdLYefW
— DFES (@dfes_wa) December 1, 2019