Christmas is just around the corner and for those looking for a thoughtful, out-of-the-box present that will support local as well as the plight of an iconic Australian animal, then Port Stephens Koalas has the ideal gift idea for you.
Nine of the marsupials in Port Stephens Koalas' care, many with ongoing medical needs, are available to adopt virtually and symbolically (sorry, you can't take them home with you) as a Christmas gift.
Among the koalas up for adoption is Tolley, a male koala believed to be about 12 years old and one of the long-term residents at Port Stephens Koalas' sanctuary and hospital at One Mile.
"Tolley is a beautiful boy. He has a lovely, tolerant personality," Port Stephens Koalas deputy curator Erica Johnstone said.
"Because of his age, Tolley requires a lot of medication and care, which costs quite a bit. Our koala adoption program helps us provide the best care possible for Tolley and other koalas at the sanctuary.
"The adoption program is also really important in other ways.
"When a person adopts a koala, they build a relationship with that koala and they want to know more about them. When they begin to learn more about that koala, they then learn about the threats to the wider koala population.
"After the drought, bushfires and mass deforestation along the east coast in the past year alone, it is important to educate the public about the immediate threats to the koala.
"If the public didn't care about koalas as much as they do now, they would be extinct. Koala adoptions are a tool we can use to help try and stop that happening."
The fee to adopt a koala is $50. The person is emailed a certificate featuring their chosen koala, a short background story on them and an email update on the koala every three months.
The adoption fee goes back into the Port Stephens Koalas organisation to provide medical treatment and medications for the ill animals, maintain the koala enclosures at the new One Mile sanctuary and hospital and towards the cost of rescues and gathering gum leaves to feed the koalas.
Other koalas in care that are available to adopt include Solstice, Joanie, Glen Martin Steve, Tai, Eila, SES Maree, Nifty Latty and Jax.
The cut off for Christmas adoptions is December 20.
To read up on each koala and to adopt go to: portstephenskoalas.com.au/adopt