Australian fundraiser for koalas surpasses $1 million, raising 40 times original goal

A fundraiser for koalas devastated by the recent bushfires in Australia has raised more than a million dollars — beating its initial AUD$25,000 (or around CAD$22,500) goal.
As of Friday evening, the GoFundMe page noted that more than AUD$1.2 million (or approximately CAD$1.16 million) has been donated by close to 30,000 donors.
The Port Macquarie Koala Hospital in New South Wales initially posted the crowdfunding page to get enough money for drinking stations for koalas impacted by the fires.
The hospital launched the fundraiser late last month, noting that “extreme fire conditions could spell more trouble for the area’s koala population.”
Bushfires have left at least four people dead and destroyed more than 400 homes since the start of November.
Fires are still burning in New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and Queensland states. Authorities in New South Wales even had to declare a state of emergency earlier this month.
The koala hospital launched the fundraising effort since hundreds of koalas are believed injured or killed by the bush fires.
Recent stories of koalas being rescued from the fires have gone viral, including footage of Lewis, a badly burned koala recently scooped from a tree by a woman who took the shirt off her back for the rescue.
There was also Kate the koala, who was discovered burnt and dehydrated in mid-November. 
The fundraiser page notes that 31 koalas to date have been rescued. And now that the fundraising goal has been reached multiple times over, the hospital has decided to do more with the donations.
Donations have now reached an incredible amount and we are extending the project to establish a wild koala breeding program,” the fundraising site said. According to 7News, the fundraiser is Australia’s second-largest GoFundMe campaign. 
The koala hospital treats between 200 to 250 koalas annually. The hospital says koalas are not considered endangered, but they are considered vulnerable and have been added to the threatened species list. 
A volunteer told earlier this week that rescued koalas will likely stay with the facility for up to a year, as they wait for their natural habitat — the bush — to “regenerate.”

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