Koala Bushfire GoFundMe Is Officially The Most Successful Aussie Fundraiser Ever
An online fundraiser for a rescue hospital that's taking care of animals that were injured in the bushfire crisis has made history to become Australia's most successful GoFundMe ever.
The fundraiser for the Port Macquarie Koala Hospital in NSW has raised more than any human-focused GoFundMe that has called for financial help in the last few weeks, in response to the fire crisis.
A new wild koala breeding program will be established in NSW after an unprecedented number of donations flooded the GoFundMe fundraiser for the hospital.
The animal rescue hospital initially hoped to raise $25,000 to be able to buy and distribute automatic drinking stations in areas that had been ravaged by fires, for koalas and other wildlife to have access to.
But in less than a month, the amount has surpassed the goal by a mile, raising a staggering $1,806,140 for the hospital as people from all over the world donated to help after seeing the devastating impact to the country's koala populations.
At the time of writing, more than 41,900 people had contributed to the fund, with an average of $42 being donated per person.
GoFundMe told 10daily that donations had come from 90 different countries since it began on November 11, with the highest number being from Australia, followed by the US, the UK, New Zealand, Germany and Canada.
It's now the biggest GoFundMe campaign in the country of all time since the organisation launched down under in 2016.
Regional Manager Nicola Britton said koalas were Australia's "national treasures" and stories of their suffering had pulled at the heartstrings of people across the world.
Britton said the campaign was one of more than 500 funds that have been created on GoFundMe to support individuals, firefighters, wildlife and communities that have been left devastated by the November fires.
NSW residents took the lead for donations, giving $420,000 to the koala hospital.
The hospital is now promising to build even more drinking stations to distribute to other wildlife organisations in fire-affected regions of the state, including two for the still-burning Northern Rivers fire.
A water-carrying vehicle with fire fighting capabilities to replenish the drinking stations with more water is also in the hospital's sights.
The hospital said the amount raised has been "incredible" and has vowed to establish a wild koala breeding program to further protect the species for the future.
"The Port Macquarie Koala Hospital has been overwhelmed by the kindness, good wishes and support from the Australian and international community for the wildlife icon, the koala," said a statement on the GoFundMe page, which is still receiving hundreds of dollars worth of donations in minutes.
Dozens of koalas have so far been brought to the hospital from a number of different fire grounds since the fire crisis began.
They've also received varying levels of treatment, including rehydration and bandaging for burns.
Peter and Paul were two of the first koalas to be treated by the hospital.
Paul was treated for burnt feet and hands and rehydrated with fluids.
Peter had received burns and singeing to his body from the flames. The hospital said his fur was now very brown from the effects of the radiant heat.
While dozens of koalas have been saved, sadly many more have died in the fires that tore through the area.
One of those was Lewis, who made global headlines due to his heroic rescue during the fires.
"Saddened this week by the news that Lewis the koala who was burnt in the NSW bushfires had succumbed to his injuries and died, we simultaneously watched in awe as the world reacted," Britton said.
"These generous donations have led the GoFundMe page for the Port Macquarie Koala Hospital to become the biggest in Australia to date."
“At the heart of this fund is the incredible work of the Port Macquarie Koala Hospital staff and volunteers. This money will be crucial in ensuring that our national treasures recover from this tragedy as quickly as possible."
According to the hospital, about 75 per cent of the fire ground footprint was prime koala habitat and it estimates that up to 350 koalas perished since the fires started in Port Macquarie in November.
The hospital hopes that building a facility to accommodate surviving koalas in a healthy habitat area will allow them to breed and a new population of koalas to return to the wild.
You can donate to the fund here.
Featured Image: Port Macquarie Koala Hospital
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