An Australian woman risked her own life when she saw an injured koala trying to escape the flames of a major brushfire. The woman, who was not identified, jumped out of her car and rushed over to save the injured animal. She took off her shirt and used it to wrap up the marsupial as she carried it away from the flames.
Once she brought the koala to safety, she poured water over it to wash away some of the soot from the fire. A male passenger in her car grabbed a blanket and wrapped it around the wet koala so they could transport it to a nearby animal hospital.
Hundreds of wildfires are burning across Australia, threatening the local wildlife populations. The intense flames have made it nearly impossible for rescue workers to go in and move the animals to safety. One of the fires spread to the Lake Innes Nature Reserve, which is a well-known habitat for koalas, which number between 50,000 and 100,000. Officials fear that over 350 koalas perished in the fire.
“In NSW, the firestorms ripped through, and they burnt everything. So koalas caught up in trees had no chance of survival, unfortunately,” Claire Smith, founder of Wildlife Rescue Sunshine Coast, told Yahoo News Australia. “The loss of that volume of animals is going to dramatically affect the genetic diversity of the species over the next 20 years.