SOUTH Australia’s only koala hospital has been officially opened amid calls for more corporate sponsorship.
The Plympton medical centre has been operating since December , treating more than 100 animals so far this summer, but was only formally opened by Governor Kevin Scarce today.
Founder Rae Campbell says volunteer-run Adelaide Koala and Wildlife Hospital will need extra financial support if it is to continue to treat sick and injured native wildlife.
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About 80 people from across Adelaide are signed on as volunteers, including vets and vet nurses.
“We still need money for equipment and to help pay the veterinary bills,” Mrs Campbell said.
“We really need some help from the corporate sector.”
Mrs Campbell said the International Fund for Animal Welfare, Adelaide Airport and Bendigo Bank had so far pledged cash but $20,000 was still needed for a purpose-built X-ray room and machine.
“We would be just about set with X-ray equipment, it is right up the top of the wishlist,” said.
“We need a car company to come on board, as we are running my car into the ground.”
“I go out every day to collect gum leaves to feed the koalas.”
Mrs Campbell says cashflow will ultimately affect the fate of the clinic, despite a rent-free period offered by the Anzac Highway site’s owners.
Fifteen koalas are currently receiving treatment, with the average turn around time from admittance to release about four days.
A female koala, named Guinevere, has been at the hospital for about a month and has endured more than $300 worth of tests, which have not found the cause of a bloating condition.
Mrs Campbell says an aviary, expected to be completed by the end of the week, will increase the hospital’s capacity from 20 to about 30 koalas.
Mrs Campbell says koalas are often brought in for heat stress and falling out of trees.
All koalas are blood and urine tested at the hospital and X-rayed at a nearby vet clinic.
Mrs Campbell said the hospital hoped to meet some of its costs by selling merchandise, such as koala masks, and running educational classes for groups of schoolchildren.
Mrs Campbell plans to apply for governemnt funding also.
Story By Amy Moran, Guardian Messenger.
Picture: Nine-year-old Maisie Aitken has celebrated the official opening of Adelaide’s koala hospital … black “koala noses” will now be sold to raise money for the medical facility. Photo: Tricia Watkinson.