Friends of the Koala



Friends of the Koala

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Our mission

Friends of the Koala is committed to conserving koalas and preserving and enhancing their habitat, particularly in the Northern Rivers region of New South Wales. In doing this, we aim to make a key contribution to Australia’s biodiversity.
Our core business

Rescuing, rehabilitating and releasing koalas
Protecting and enhancing koala habitat
Educating the community about koalas and issues that affect them
Advocating on behalf of koalas
Assisting relevant research

Managed/contributed to the following campaigns

Type of group


Primary environmental focus

Conservation & Protection

Geographic sphere or activity


Primary location

Northern Rivers, NSW

Known address

P O Box 5034, East Lismore, NSW 2480, Australia

Website link/s

Founding Year


History of group

In the 30 years since Friends of the Koala was first established, with the aim to enhance and protect koala habitat, we’ve become the lead organisation fighting for koalas in the Northern Rivers Region of New South Wales.

Amongst many other activities, we maintain a 24/7 Rescue Hotline; rescue, rehabilitate and release sick and injured koalas and operate both a Triage, Treatment and Pathology Clinic and Education and Administration Centre in East Lismore. We also organise a merciful death for koalas that can’t be saved, propagate and sell koala food trees, work with local government to develop and implement Comprehensive Koala Plans of Management and provide advice to landowners on extending koala habitat.

With a volunteer base of about 100 people, by 2017 we had distributed around 152,068 koala food trees across the Northern Rivers since we started this work in 1990, brought into care over 5,000 koalas (releasing over 1,230 back into the wild), educated people about caring for and living with koalas, written countless submissions on matters related to koala well-being, participated in numerous research projects and worked with a wide range of diverse partners to ensure the koala’s survival in our region.

Formed as an organisation to enhance and protect koala habitat

Licensed to rescue, rehabilitate and release koalas under the NSW National Parks & Wildlife Act 1974

Incorporated as Friends of the Koala Inc.

Entry in the Federal Register of Environmental Organisations

Koala Care and Research Centre, East Lismore opened
Southern Cross University Vice Chancellor’s Special Award

Lismore City Council’s Australia Day Achievement Award (Environment Category)
1st Green Corps Project 2004- Koala Conservation and Corridor Connection and Bundjalung Walking Track

Outdoor enclosures established at the Koala Care Centre
Steve Irwin Conservation Foundation’s Koala and Wildlife Hospital agreed to treat our koalas
WildLife Link donated our Rescue Van and trailer

Wildlife Preservation Society of Australia’s Community Wildlife Conservation Award

1st Environmental Trust Lead Environmental Community Groups grant

21-year lease on Koala Care & Research site granted by Lismore Council

1st partnership in an ARC Linkage project – Development of an anti-Chlamydial vaccine for the koala

NSW Volunteer of the Year Award, Northern Rivers Region Team of the Year Award

Nature Conservation Council of NSW’s Outstanding Member Group 2012

Lismore City Council’s Australia Day Achievement Award (Sustainable Environment)
Nature Conservation Council of NSW’s Marie Byles Award for the most outstanding new environmental campaign

Byron Shire Council’s 2014 World Environment Day Award (Conservation & Land Management)
3 additional outdoor runs extended Koala Care Centre capacity

1st Environmental Trust Lead Environmental Communication Grant

Environmental Trust Restoration & Rehabilitation grant over 3 years – Enhancing Lismore wildlife refuges and corridors for threatened species

2017 Environmental Trust Environmental Education grant over 3 years – Koala Watch: Community led koala recovery – Northern Rivers.
June – WINNER of the Golden Leaf Award of Excellence for a Wildlife Group
September – official opening of Burribi Education & Administration Centre

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