Australia has been in the news lately, as raging bushfires sweep across its south-eastern regions, claiming hundreds of hectares of land, and destroying natural habitats in the process.
Thousands of animals have been displaced, among them species unique to the country, like the koala bear. Homes have been destroyed, and the pall of smoke from the bushfires hangs over towns and cities.
A woman traveling through an area affected by the blazes saw a koala struggling to escape the flames and knew she had to do something.
The lovable koala bear is an iconic symbol of the Land Down Under. These even-tempered creatures sit contentedly in the country’s indigenous eucalyptus trees, munching on their leaves.
They are perfectly suited for the environment, with their claws adapted for clinging to the branches of the trees. Like kangaroos, koala bears are marsupials, and females carry their offspring in a pouch.
In recent times, koala numbers have been in decline as their natural habitat is destroyed by the annual bushfire season. Many don’t escape because they are placid animals who do not move with such great speed.
Koalas spend much of their time sitting still, and they sleep for up to 18 hours a day. As a result, the koalas are often caught up in the middle of raging bushfires with no way to escape from them. This is exactly what happened to one koala, who was lucky to escape with its life.
The video of Toni Doherty’s selfless actions went viral, both in Australia and around the world. The brave woman has been hailed a hero. The video has brought greater awareness of the bushfires and their devastating consequences.
Over 100 bushfires are still burning despite the best efforts of the courageous firefighters who risk their lives to extinguish them. The unrelenting heat, high winds, and lack of rainfall make this an uphill battle.
Koalas living in the wild are at great risk of injury or death as a result of the fires. This is having an impact on the already dwindling numbers of koalas living in the wild.
Wildlife experts are working around the clock to rescue the koala bears and put measures in place to ensure that the species doesn’t become extinct.