Australia is burning – even now. Though we have entered the New Year, our eyes are still on the news. We are trying to make #PrayforAustralia viral even now. From the late 2019s, the wildfires all over Australia have continued appearing on the news. At first, it might have seemed like these wildfires will stop, but they are not showing any signs of stopping. They are just engulfing wide areas of land, leaving only a wasteland behind. According to many ecologists, around 500 million animals have been killed by the wildfires. The koala population has been affected the most. Koalas are endemic to Australia and this drastic wildfire might have made them functionally extinct.
However, in amidst all the depressing news stories, one story stands out – the rescues of a few koalas by the koala-rescuing cousins, Caleb and Micah.
There are many people who have come forward to help Australia through these tough times. Many Australian residents have donated money and mittens to animal hospitals. However, the koala-rescuing cousins, 18-year-old Caleb and 19-year-old Micah stole the spotlight. They drove around the affected Kangaroo Island, picking up severely injured koalas along the way.
The teenagers have planned to look after the Koalas and try to treat them. Once they are healthy, they will release them in the wild. They do not want to keep the koalas as pets – they know how low the koala population in the wild has become after the wildfires.
Since the teens were in a car, space was an issue. They could not really carry all the koalas that they could find. Hence, they tried to rescue koalas who had a lot of burns and could not sustain themselves without external help. However, the rescue process has not been any less traumatic. The teens noticed that about 60% of the koalas they encountered were burned to death.
As Australia burns, there are many organizations and individuals who are coming forward to make a difference. Ben Jameson, a resident living on the Gold Coast near Brisbane, wanted to collect and donate money to communities and emergency services that are trying to help control the wildfire situation. According to Ben, a Sydney university has estimated that about half a billion animals including platypus, koalas, and wombats have died. Most of them were endangered species. This is a huge blow for the Australian ecosystem and biosphere.
It is uncertain how Australia could recover from it.
According to the co-owner of the Kangaroo Island Wildlife Park, Sam Mitchell, there were many people who delivered injured animals to the organization, including around fifty koalas.
But unfortunately, as per Sam, “At least a third of what has been brought in we’ve had to euthanize, unfortunately. We are seeing many burns to hands and feet—fingernails melted off. For some, the burns are just too extreme.”
While the koala-rescuing cousins may have seen such gruesome sights, they are happy about their expedition. According to them: “This is our little koala rescue. Just trying to collect as many live ones as we can.”
The internet is praising the koala-rescuing cousins. They are truly an inspiration.
Credits: Alternative 666