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Australia: Koalas under critical care amid bushfires

Posted at 4:23 PM, Jan 05, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-05 16:23:14-05

The bushfires in Kangaroo Island, Australia, have nearly wiped out their entire koala population.

Amid the disaster, a story of hope for these adorable creatures is emerging.

Burnt, injured and bewildered. Koalas needing care are arriving by the trailer load.

Kangaroo Island resident Rick Fisher says, "They're all stunned."

Fisher and his neighbors saved these ones from their properties, some barely clinging to life.

"I think this little fellow, he's too far gone. Yeah, he's too far gone," Fisher said while examining one rescued koala.

The survivors are under critical care at the Kangaroo Island Wildlife Park.

It's been inundated, taking in dozens of severely burnt animals a day.

Kangaroo Island Wildlife Park's Sam Mitchell said, "Unfortunately for some of those animals that the best thing is a humane euthanasia straight away. There's just no chance."

The impact on wildlife is breaking hearts.

Kate Welz with Kangaroo Island Wildlife Network said, "This environment has been completely, completely changed, and I don't know that it will ever, ever come back and be the same."

Park owner Dana Mitchell has her hands full caring for these survivors around the clock.

"Every day they're getting pain relief. All of these guys are. We're also treating them for severe burns on a few of them, minor burns on others," she says.