KOALA HOSPITAL presents the poignant and surprising life of koalas.
For almost 40 years, the Koala Hospital and its community of volunteers have been caring for sick and injured wild koalas, giving them a second chance at life.
Australian filmmaker Susan Kelly documented wild behaviour and life at the hospital over 3 years, capturing unprecedented footage of koala communication, dramatic rescues, heartfelt emotion and amusing koala antics.
Next Showing on Nat Geo Wild:
Sunday, 18 December 7:30pm
Monday, 19 December 7:30am
Friday, 23 December 7:30pm
Saturday, 24 December 7:30am
Tuesday, 27 December 5:30pm
Wednesday, 28 December 5:30am
Jimmy is the heart of the story. His tiny injured body is taken to the hospital's emergency room, after he's knocked unconscious by a car. His mother is killed in the accident and Jimmy becomes an orphan. We marvel at his new life there, being raised by loving human carers, on a unique journey back to the wild. They nurture this colorful character until he's able to look after himself and through Jimmy's life, we come to understand the many obstacles koalas face.
Koalas are now confronted by a maze of roads and human mayhem and with fewer places to live, they're becoming urban refugees.
Four wounded souls, Jimmy, Farida, Kaylee and Twinkles arrive abruptly, at what has now become a koala refugee camp - this extraordinary hospital in Port Macquarie, a few hours north of Sydney. We share the captivating journeys of Jimmy and these 3 other displaced individuals throughout the film.
Staff are on 24-hour call to rescue animals from dangerous situations, and meet the stream of patients suffering various ailments from living in the modern world. Their problems are as diverse as their distinct personalities. Disease, car accidents and pet dog attacks are the main reasons for admission. Cancer, AIDS, flu and arthritis have to be dealt with too, and now koalas face a growing threat - climate change. With warmer temperatures, the world’s forests are drying out and large-scale fires are now becoming frequent in many countries. In recent years, Australia has seen massive forest areas destroyed by infernos, with entire koala communities vanishing in the flames.
During the film, we witness Australia suffer the most devastating fires in its history. The hospital team have had to become expert at search and rescue missions across the country, to save koalas from their burning forest homes. Staff race victims into treatment at the fire-grounds, risking their lives to rescue koalas and gently treat their burned bodies. We come to realise why the work at the Koala Hospital is so critical, as fires, development and human encroachment radically alter the landscape.
It's hard to know exactly how many koalas there are in the wild, but the Australian Koala Foundation who track the population, estimate the number could have fallen to as low as around 40,000 koalas. Alarmed by the drastic decline, an army of protesters fight back on the koalas behalf, taking over the city with political confrontations and a display of koalas in coffins - real life victims of dogs, cars and deadly logging machines, that remove the koalas home and kill them in the process.
A safe life in the bush is the ultimate goal for the hospital's many hundreds of patients, and to increase our understanding of koalas in the wild, we explore this unknown and fascinating world. Traveling across the koalas home range of eastern Australia, we meet scientists who reveal the remarkable natural history of this curious marsupial, the only one of its kind. The koalas life is not what you'd expect.
In an emotional final scene, after a long and uncertain road to recovery, Jimmy passes all the tests and is set free in his wild and natural home in the gum trees.
He’s just one small koala in a very big world, with many challenges ahead of him, but his success story is a victory for a little hospital making a difference – one koala at a time.
Look out for this wonderful documentary by Susan Kelly to be shown on National Geographic Wild in December 2011.
Feeling warm and fuzzy
- Tuesday, 12 March 2013
An article in the Sun Herald March 10, 2013Nina Karnikowski Travel Writer
Nina Karnikowski decides it's high time to get cuddly with an Aussie favourite.I’ve never touched a koala. As an Australian, I’m almost ashamed to admit it. It seems on par with never having eaten a Vegemite sandwich, never...
New York City premiere of the Documentary 'Koala Hospital'
- Tuesday, 29 January 2013
According to Susan Kelly, koalas have become "urban refugees," under siege by expanding cities that bring with them deforestation, dogs, traffic, and other ills for native wildlife. Director of Global Briefing, and writer, producer and director of the new documentary Koala Hospital, Susan Kelly...
Sydney University Research
- Sunday, 18 November 2012
The work that the Koala Hospital has hosted has been fantastic and the effort and assistance provided by the whole organization but particularly by Cheyne and all the volunteers over the years with Jo and also our other PhD students, has been truly magnificent. I know how disruptive and...