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Australian fireman shows compassion by rescuing koala

By Chris V. Thangham     Feb 11, 2009 in World
The firefighters were combing the area in Victoria, Australia, when they encountered a stranded koala bear. One firefighter gave it a bottle of water and rescued it from the burned-out area.
The deadly bushfires have killed more than 200 people and destroyed 750 homes and have burnt approximately 2,850 square kilometers of land. Animals also were affected in these bush fires. Firefighters have rescued scores of koala bears, wallabies and kangaroos from the burnt area.
Firefighter David Tree was able to rescue one of the koalas. He was patrolling a ravaged forest area near Mirboo North, 150 kilometers east of Melbourne when he noticed a stranded koala with burnt paws.
The koala tried to move away from him but because of obvious pain it was unable to move any further. David Tree approached it and gave it a bottle of water, which the koala drank it in a hurry.
Tree told AP:
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 firefighting team was then able to call the animal welfare officers to pick up the koala and give it further treatment.
David Tree said koalas are not friendly creatures but this one was injured and in pain. Also, they don't drink water directly; they get nourishment from the leaves they eat. It was surprising that koala drank lots of water.
Koala bears usually stay in trees and don’t like to walk. Since they don’t run and move very slowly on the ground, it is likely many may have perished in the fire. Other animals like kangaroos, cows, sheep, and wallabies were also affected by the fires.
The koala that was rescued is recovering well, according to Jenny Shaw of the Mountain Ash Wildlife Shelter. They have administered antibiotics to quell the pain.
Jenny Shaw told 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...It will be a long road to recovery, but she should be able to be released back into the wild in about five months."
They have nicknamed the koala “Sam”. She also said that Sam has an admirer in the shelter.
Also, the Royal Society for the Protection of Animals has set up special shelters to provide care for the animals affected by the fire.
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