(TMU) — During the devastating fires that have destroyed thousands of acres since September of last year, the famous Aussie spirit of standing together has been stronger than ever. The Australian Army joined firefighters risking their lives to fight and contain the fires and rescue injured wildlife.
Soldiers also volunteered to help care for the many koalas who had lost their homes, which also happen to be their only source of food.
Pictures uploaded to the Australian Army Facebook page show men and women from the South Australian and Tasmania 16 Regiment Emergency Support Forces caring for, cuddling, and feeding koalas to make sure they get enough nutrients and care after their harrowing experience prior to being rescued.
Using their rest time, the soldiers stopped at the Cleland Wildlife Park in South Australia to help with the traumatized koalas before returning to the Adelaide hills for their next shift of battling to get the bush fires under control.
“A great morale boost for our hard working team in the Adelaide Hills,” read the caption on their Facebook post.
The photos show the compassion of the battle weary soldiers and the reality of the utter devastation of the bushfires which decimated the koala population. Koalas may soon be classified as an endangered species after thousands perished in the fires. It is estimated that 80% of the koalas on Kangaroo Island alone perished in the massive bushfires.
According to Minister of the Environment Sussan Ley, the koala population had taken an “extraordinary hit” as a result of the bushfires. A $50 million funding package to help animal populations bounce back once the bush fires have been contained and put out was recently announced.
While unveiling the additional funding, Ley told reporters, “It may be necessary… to see whether in certain parts of the country, koalas move from where they are, which is often vulnerable, up to endangered.”
Many animal rescue and rehabilitation centers are in desperate need of funds for medical equipment and medicines, help at their centers, and foster families to help rehabilitate some of the animals affected. If you would like to donate, help at the centers, or be a foster carer for injured koalas and kangaroos, please get in touch with your nearest rescue or rehabilitation center.
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