Proceeds from the sale of selected merchandise related to Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games mascot Borobi will be donated to one of Queensland’s leading wildlife hospitals as part of a new agreement to support koala rescue and conservation, Australia’s Minister for Environment and Heritage Protection Steven Miles has announced today.
The Currumbin Wildlife Hospital Foundation (CWHF), which admits more than 8,000 sick, injured and orphaned native animal patients annually, will be the recipients of the funds.
Miles believes Borobi, the bright blue koala unveiled by Gold Coast 2018 last month as the face of the Commonwealth Games, will help raise awareness of koalas and provide important education on their conservation and protection.
"The strategic partnership with Currumbin Wildlife Hospital Foundation and the important funding contribution will ensure the koala preservation is given a boost to ensure longevity and importantly conservation of the species," he said.
Queensland’s Commonwealth Games Minister Stirling Hinchliffe describes Borobi as an energetic supporter of Gold Coast 2018 and says it’s fitting the mascot would help raise funds for koalas.
"Borobi’s profile will help shine a spotlight on koala conservation and ensure Currumbin Wildlife Hospital Foundation can continue to deliver valuable treatment and rehabilitation services," he said.
"This announcement will ensure Borobi can support his friends in the wild and help Currumbin continue to provide care for sick, injured and orphaned koalas."
Borobi merchandise will be unveiled later this year for the public to purchase in the lead up to Gold Coast 2018.
CWHF chief executive Jonathan Fisher said the National Trust who supported the Hospital Foundation were delighted with the opportunity to highlight the work the Queensland Government and the Foundation were undertaking to protect koalas.
"This funding is extremely timely with the CWHF taking in an average of 300 koalas from regions as far south as Port Macquarie and north to Brisbane," he said.
"But the opportunity represents much more than that with the species in the spotlight through Borobi also providing a platform for education in habitat conservation and protection right across the national koala corridors.
"The CWHF programmes include research into prevention of koala diseases and artificial insemination to manage genetic diversity of captive and wild koalas.
"It also manages the planting of many hectares and tens of thousands of gum trees for koala feed."
Miles said treatment facilities at the CWHF had also been improved thanks to about AU$150,000 (£76,000/$109,000/€96,000) in Queensland Government funding.
The grants enabled the hospital to build a rehabilitation facility, establish and maintain a 15,000 tree koala fodder plantation on a 16-acre site at Hinze Dam, construct an air-conditioned fodder storage shed, and develop a gravel access road at the plantation.
In the days following Borobi’s unveiling, a graphic designer in Australia claimed the design had been stolen from him.
The idea of Borobi was credited to Brisbane school teacher Merrilyn Krohn.
However, Troy Sizer, who entered his drawing of a blue koala wearing the iconic lifesaver's red and yellow cap and board shorts into the mascot competition, insisted it owed more to his design.
Sizer does not plan to take legal action, he promised.