Australia is a large country and an island continent with many unique animal and plant species. The island is about the size of 48 adjoining states of the USA and is only 10% habitable by humans, mostly along its coastline while the rest of the country is mostly desert or semi-arid. Temperatures range from above 50°C (122 °F) to below 0°C (32 °F).
The country has suffered through drought since 2017, and although they do have a bushfire season, the current devastating fires are worse thanks to the long drought and record breaking temperatures. December 2019 saw the highest temperatures in 110 years. Nullarbor, South Australia, suffered through the hottest day on the 19th when temperatures reached 49.9°C (121°F).
The bushfires began in September 2019 and have continued unabated in the state of New South Wales (NSW) with Victoria and South Australia also affected.
Amidst the threat of global warming, the world has been horrified by the destruction and especially the death of wildlife, estimated to be over 1 billion.
Animals being rescued and Koalas in particular have taken center stage on social media. One such story is the heart-warming tale of Asha, a golden retriever who rescued a baby koala. Asha’s story was shared on social media over the weekend and it quickly went viral.
Kerry McKinnon from Strathdownie, Western Victoria, was surprised when Asha had a koala joey clinging to her back.
“It was quite early in the morning, and my husband yelled out to me to come have a look at something,” Kerry, 45, told News.com.au. “I didn’t know what he was talking about at first, but then I saw this tiny baby koala snuggled on top of Asha.” Seeing the spectacle, Kerry says, “I just burst out laughing. Poor Asha didn’t know what to think; she just kept looking at me with such a confused look.“
“She looked a bit guilty when I came out to see what was going on. Her expression was hilarious.
She kept looking back at the koala bear, but she wasn’t trying to get him off her or anything. She was happy to let him snuggle into her.”
Golden Retriever Asha came home with an orphan baby Koala whose life she just saved.
— Heer 🌸 (@nikkupikku) January 6, 2020
The mystery of how the joey ended up with Asha has still not been solved but as Kerry explained:
“I think the koala bear baby fell out of his mum’s pouch and didn’t know what to do. He would have just wandered over to our back porch and seen the dogs in their beds, then decided to snuggle in Asha’s fur because it’s nice and warm.
Asha definitely saved the koala’s life by keeping him warm. He would have died out there if left alone all night. The poor thing could have been taken by a fox or something too.”
“I think dogs have that protective instinct. The koala didn’t want to leave Asha’s back. When we took the koala off to wrap it in a blanket, it hissed at me and carried on.
I think it would have been happy to have just slept there all day. It was really an amazing animal friendship to see and so uniquely Australian.”
All is well with that particular joey who was later checked out by a vet and cared for by a local koala carer until it ready to be released into the wild again.
McKinnon told Associated Press she took the photos in September 2018 on her porch where the baby koala was snuggling in Asha’s fur for warmth, most likely due to the cold temperature.
She further confirmed the area they live in has not been affected by the bushfires currently ravaging the country, explaining:
“The story being circulated about her and the koala are nothing to do with the fires, these photos were taken in September 2018.”
Although temperatures have cooled and rain brought some relief over the weekend, the situation is far from over as fires continue to burn in several areas. Over 25 people have died and about 20,000 homes destroyed at this time.