In line with the objectives of both the 2022 National Recovery Plan for the Koala Phascolarctos cinereus and 2022 NSW Koala Strategy, our study aimed to draw on the long-term records of koala rescue in NSW from 1973 to 2020 to describe trends in admissions across NSW. A total of 18,039 koala admission records were collated from 1973 to 2020. Koalas were rescued due to disease, motor vehicle collision, dog attacks, unsuitable environment, bushfire, orphaning, and other reasons. However, the reasons for rescue were not evenly distributed among the rehabilitation groups. Across all rehabilitation groups and all years (1973-2020), the release rate of all admitted koalas was 47.6%. The NSW Koala Strategy identifies an action of “supporting koala rehabilitators” (Pillar 3 Improving the safety and health of koalas), and strong partnerships, including with koala rehabilitators, are “critical to achieving success”. Our study has confirmed that strong partnerships are possible and identified the prevalence of disease and trauma in rescued koalas. While it is not possible to assess the scale of the threats from disease and trauma to koala populations from rehabilitation records alone, we can use the trends in admissions to inform the efficient distribution of resources to rescue and rehabilitation efforts.

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