Koala Rescue Photo Emerges Amid Australia’s Scorched Earth Crisis


You may have heard about the fires that have consumed a huge amount of land in Australia’s Victoria state. The death toll from the fires may exceed 200:

“Police have so far confirmed 181 deaths as the fires ripped across the southern state of Victoria on Saturday. But the state’s premier, John Brumby, said more than 50 people remained missing Tuesday afternoon.”

Animals, of course, are suffering as well. I imagine you’ll soon be seeing this photo everywhere:

“The koala moved gingerly on scorched paws, crossing the blackened landscape as the fire patrol passed. Clearly in pain, the animal stopped when it saw firefighter David Tree following behind. ‘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, almost like a baby.’ The team called animal welfare officers as it resumed its patrols on Sunday, the day after deadly firestorms swept southern Victoria state. ‘I love nature, and I’ve handled koalas before. They’re not the friendliest things, but I wanted to help him,’ Tree said.”

Police are working to determine how many of the fires may have been set by arsonists.

Posted February 10, 2009 at 12:24pm ETC by Andy Towle
in Australia, Nature, News