After Critically Burning All 4 of His Paws, Injured Koala is Finally Safe

(TMU) — Surrounded by the destruction of Australia’s massive bushfires, Billy was found clinging to a tree in a backyard in Adelaide Hills, South Australia. He gave a loud cry when his rescuers pulled him from the tree, but he must have been overcome with relief more than anything else as he settled down straight away and snuggled in his carrier.

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⬅️ swipe 💙 Meet Billy 😍 Billy was brought out of the bushfire zone on Monday, with four burned paws. He’ll be in care for some time while his paws heal, and having daily dressing changes and treatments at the vets. He’s a very trusting and gentle soul, and his carers are head over heels in love with him ❤️🐨💙 . .🐨 To contribute to care for the victims of this tragedy, please see the link in our bio 🙏🐨🍃 . . . ***Please do NOT enter the fire grounds looking for injured wildlife. SAVEM will be deployed and are trained and equipped to deal with the injuries the animals may have and the fire ground dangers that still exist after the fire has passed through.*** . . If you see an orphaned, sick or injured koala please call @1300koalaz on 1300 562529 24/7. . . #koala #koalasofinstagram #koalarescue #babykoala #australia #rescue #australiananimals #wildlifecarers #abcmyphoto #cute #love #visitaustralia #koalababy #adelaide #southaustralia #koalalove #savethekoalas #koalarescue #marsupials #koala🐨 #koalas #koalajoey #helpthekoalas #australiannature #australianwildlife #savethekoala #koalabear #australia #bushfires #cudleecreek #bushfireappeal #fundraiser @abcadelaide @abcnews_au @thetiser @abcaustralia @bbcnews

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Lucy and Adam Francis work with 1300Koalaz to help rescue and rehabilitate injured koalas. They’ve experienced the pain and suffering of many koalas up close and personal since September 2019 as the wildfires raged across Australia affecting an estimated billion animals. Billy made it to safety in the nick of time but suffered severe burns on all four of his paws. He was rushed to a vet where he was assessed and his wounds bandaged before being taken to his new home where he will rest and heal.

Lucy explained:

As his paws were all bandaged he was unable to climb or be in the normal kind of enclosure that we use for koalas in care, so we had to think outside of the box and we made a makeshift enclosure for him in our kitchen so we could be close to him always. We used a camping mattress for him to sit on, and placed a pillow behind him for him to lean back in as it was difficult for him to sit in a normal koala position. He was clearly in shock, frightened and covered in soot and ash from the fire.

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Billy Update 💙🐨 our little fighter is healing slowly but well. We are confident he will make a full recovery! His paws remain wrapped as some of his more serious burns are still open and sore. The burns to his coccyx are still very painful for him, so his carers ensure he is comfortable on a soft mattress whilst he’s still not able to sit in a branch. He needs burn lotion regularly applied to this area to prevent infection, and his carers change and wash his bedding up to a dozen times a day. He still needs help when he’s feeding as although some of his claws are out it’s still difficult for him to grip his leafy dinners. Throughout this, he is gentle and calm and is loved by all who know him – he’s something of a celebrity amongst the local vets, who we can’t thank enough for the care, love and compassion they show him ❤️❤️ thank you all so much for the love and support you’ve shown Billy, our little hero 🐨🐨🐨 To contribute to Billy’s care and for the other victims of this tragedy, please see the link in our bio 🙏🐨🍃 . . . . If you see an orphaned, sick or injured koala please call @1300koalaz on 1300 562529 24/7. . . #koala #koalasofinstagram #koalarescue #babykoala #australia #rescue #australiananimals #wildlifecarers #abcmyphoto #cute #australiankoalafoundation #visitaustralia #koalababy #adelaide #southaustralia #koalalove #savethekoalas #koalarescue #marsupials #koala🐨 #koalas #koalajoey #helpthekoalas #australiannature #australianwildlife #savethekoala #koalabear #australia #bushfires #hero #bushfireappeal #fundraiser @abcadelaide @abcnews_au @thetiser @abcaustralia @bbcnews

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Lucy and Adam worried that taking care of Billy might be a struggle since he was quite a big boy and seemed depressed when he first arrived. To their surprise, Billy turned out to be one of the sweetest and most gentle koalas they had ever met.

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When Billy first came to us and might have bitten my husband’s hand had he been a different-tempered koala, he sniffed it and licked it gently instead. We have a very close relationship with him and he lets us handle him as we need to and clearly trusts us, despite still being very much a wild koala.

The couple gained his trust by talking to him quietly and stroking his fur softly when they needed to move him or give him medicine. He handled it well and seemed to understand that he was in good hands from the moment he was rescued. Regardless of the pain, Billy trusted his rescuers completely.

His personality is so gentle and calm, even when we have to rub cream into his blisters and burns, or administer his vitamin mixture—which we’re really sure he hates—it’s like giving a very furry, reluctant child their medicine. He holds our hands with his back paws when we apply cream to his coccyx burn.

Billy was extremely weak when he was rescued and could not even feed himself. The inured koala was fed extra food and vitamins to help him heal and is getting stronger by the day. Lucy and Adam can see him becoming happier as his health improves.

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🐨😍 Billy update ❤️ One of Billy’s front paws and one of his back paws have now healed enough to have the bandages removed! 🙌🍃🎉 The best thing about this is that it’s much much easier for him to eat by himself 🍃😋 (he still likes to be hand fed by his carers whenever possible though 😅) A koala recovering from burns needs to eat around 3 times the amount of a healthy koala, as they need the calories to heal. We are over the moon with Billy’s progress!! Seeing him grip a leafy branch with his paw is one of the best feelings ever ❤️ We’re hoping it won’t be long until his other paws can also be unwrapped, and he can sit in a branch which will not only make him feel more koala-y but also help his coccyx heal at last. He copes with his treatment so well, ⬅️ swipe to see him having sleepy cuddles with one of his carers after a dressing change. Well done Billy, we love you ❤️🐨❤️ . . ❤️❤️ thank you all so much for the love and support you’ve shown Billy, our little hero 🐨🐨🐨 To contribute to Billy’s care and for the other victims of this tragedy, please see the link in our bio 🙏🐨🍃 . . . . If you see an orphaned, sick or injured koala please call @1300koalaz on 1300 562529 24/7. . . #koala #koalasofinstagram #koalarescue #babykoala #australia #rescue #australiananimals #wildlifecarers #abcmyphoto #cute #australiankoalafoundation #visitaustralia #koalababy #adelaide #southaustralia #koalalove #savethekoalas #koalarescue #marsupials #koala🐨 #koalas #koalajoey #helpthekoalas #australiannature #australianwildlife #savethekoala #koalabear #australia #bushfires #hero #bushfireappeal #fundraiser @abcadelaide @abcnews_au @thetiser @abcaustralia

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Billy won’t be ready for release back into the wild for a while, but at the moment he is happy and relaxed to be in a safe place with his friends.

We can’t wait to see him fully recover, and release him in a big beautiful gum tree one day—although he will leave a very big Billy-shaped hole in our home and in our hearts.

If you’d like to help other koalas in distress you can donate to 1300Koalaz. Those wishing to help the many other animals injured and displaced during the devastating fires can donate to WIRES, a wildlife emergency fund. 

By Jade Small | Creative Commons | TheMindUnleashed.com