There is very tragic news emerging from the Australian bushfires as there are hundreds of koala bears who are believed to have been burned alive in the ensuing blazes.
The fires have caused half of the koalas living in a coastal reserve in New South Wales to perish, as the record number of intense fires continue to rage across the Australian state.
As per Reuters, the blaze at the Lake Innes Nature Reserve has already destroyed two-thirds of the koalas’ natural habitat, and has left the rest under threat from on of the 15 major fires that are currently burning through the southeastern state.
Koala Conservation Australia is estimating that about 350 koalas living on the reserve in the north coast town of Port Macquarie, have died. President Sue Ashton has stated that there was a total population of 500 to 600 koalas who were living on the reserve prior to the start of the bush fires.
The nearby Port Macquarie Koala Hospital has seen animal carers working hard to care for the rescued koalas – bandaging their wounds and feeding them eucalyptus leaves and formula.
The team leader of the carers, Amanda Gordon, has said, “We look for signals of pain – teeth grinding, distress – and we just take it on a day-by-day basis. Sometimes koalas seem to be doing really, really well. Their paws might be healing up but if something’s going on that we can’t see there’s not really much we can do.”
In order to better serve the koalas, the Port Macqaurie Koala Hospital has created a Gofundme page, and is urging people to donate in order to purchase and distribute drinking stations as a means of helping koala and wildlife survival.
The page has currently raised more than $34,000 AUD, which is the equivalent of $23,300 USD.
On the site they wrote, “One way to help surviving koalas and other wildlife are to provide access to water to reduce further deaths from dehydration. The Port Macquarie Koala Hospital would like to raise money to purchase and distribute automatic drinking stations which will assist in helping koala and wildlife survival. Money raised will be used to distribute the drinking stations in the fire-affected region. If enough money is raised, it will distribute to other significant koala habitat areas across the State. With rising temperatures and increasingly dry conditions worsening across the State, access to water is essential for survival. Please help to enable the Port Macquarie Koala Hospital to undertake this project. All assistance is greatly appreciated.”
Following later with an update, the site said, “Searching of the fire site has started and 7 koalas have been brought to the hospital for treatment. L.I.N.R (Lake Innes Nature Reserve) Paul was the first admitted with burnt feet and hands. Paul was dehydrated and this photo is of him receiving some fluids. Thank you for your donations which will go towards purchasing automatic drinking stations to help surviving wildlife stay hydrated.”
Those poor little koalas. Our condolences are with them and we wish them all speedy recoveries.
Anastasia is an American writer and journalist living in Dublin, Ireland. Her Twitter is @AnastasiaArell5.