A koala researcher has praised the news that Gunnedah's wildlife hospital will go ahead now that a koala park site has been chosen.
"It's fantastic. We're very excited about that," Dr Valentina Mella said.
"It didn't make sense to have a koala park without a hospital because we know they need it."
The University of Sydney zoologist has been focused on the shire's koalas since 2015 as part of a world-first study in the shire into the use of water by koalas in the wild.
Over the years, Dr Mella and her team have come face-to-face with countless koalas infected with chlamydia and have delivered them into the care of Gunnedah WIRES' volunteer Martine Moran.
"She has limited space ... she does miracles considering," Dr Mella said.
"You need space."
Related story: CaPTA Group quashes concerns about new koala park location
Dr Mella praised Mrs Moran's years of dedication to koalas, saying it was a difficult task because the closest specialist - Doctor Alison Neef - is based in Tamworth and medication to treat chlamydia is sourced from Dubbo.
"It's the support that it's missing ... the fact that [Martine] has to go to Tamworth for a koala to be seen," Dr Mella said.
The zoologist said Dr Neef had been trained by her university colleague, veterinary pathologist Mark Krockenberger, and her knowledge of koalas is "why she's trusted".
"We're hoping with this new hospital, someone they get in, we can give training to them so they have the experience to look after native animals ... That's the problem - normal vets are not trained to look after wildlife," Dr Mella said.
Gunnedah's new koala park will be operated by the CaPTA Group.
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