Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Koala rescued in wildfire-scarred Australia

Sydney---Firefighter David Tree shares his water with an injured Australian koala in a scorched forest near Mirboo North.
It was a heart-tugging scene borne by a chance encounter in the charred landscape of Australia's deadly wildfires: a koala sipping water from a bottle offered by a firefighter.
David Tree noticed the koala moving gingerly on scorched paws as his fire patrol passed. Clearly in pain, the animal stopped when it saw Tree.
"It was amazing, he turned around, sat on his bum and sort of looked at me with (a look) like, put me out of my misery," Tree told The Associated Press on Tuesday. "I yelled out for a bottle of water. I unscrewed the bottle, tipped it up on his lips and he just took it naturally.
"He kept reaching for the bottle, almos t like a baby."
The team called animal-welfare officers to pick up the koala on Sunday, the day after deadly firestorms swept southern Victoria state.
The koala , which turned out to be a female, was in pain but recovering with antibiotics, Jenny Shaw of the Mountain Ash Wildlife Shelter told Melbourne's The Herald Sun newspaper.
"She is lovely — very docile — and she has already got an admirer. A male koala keeps putting his arms around her," Shaw was quoted as saying. "It will be a long road to recovery, but she should be able to be released back into the wild in about five months."
Despite her gender, the now famous koala is nicknamed Sam.


suZen said...

What a beautiful yet heartbreaking picture! I am saddened by all the destruction and loss of life your country is going through.

Ruby Isabella said...

So cute! A good story much needed amongst the tragedy. By the way, Sam is a common name for males and females.

Ginnymo said...

I had tears in my eyes when I first saw this photo. Then I saw the video of it. And then after she was all bandaged up in the shelter and had a male friend that was hurt in the fires also ...What a great story to come out of all the tragedy down there.