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.
Police Rescue Dogs Trapped In Car on Sizzling Hot Day, Owners Complain About Broken Window
Police in the UK acted quickly to save a two dogs locked inside a car in sizzling hot temperatures by smashing open a window, upsetting the car’s owner over the damage.
Officers responded Sunday to reports that a beagle and another dog were trapped in a car parked in the seaside British city of Brighton on a day of boiling heat.
In video captured of the incident, an officer can be seen jamming his baton through a rear window before finally shattering it to free the pooches.
This prompts the car alarm to go off as the car’s owners can be seen rushing toward it, upset over the police intervention.
A woman, standing with her shocked family, says: “You broke my window out!”
One of the officer responded: “It’s a hot day. You shouldn’t be leaving the dog in the car in this weather.”
The incident happened on a day when people across the region flock to the seaside resort city to dip into the beaches amid surging hot temperatures.
The onlooker who filmed the incident noted that the owners seemed unaware of the dangers posed to their pets by weather conditions.
“Where they had parked there is just no shade,” they told The Sun. “It’s directly on the seafront in 25°C (77°F) weather outside – I’ve got no idea what it was inside the car.”
The family was indignant over what they claim was an overreaction by the police.
“At first it was ‘what the f*** are you doing, why did you break my car window? I was only gone for 10 minutes,’” another witness explained.
“The bloke obviously thought he was completely in the right,” they added. “He didn’t really seem to have much empathy.”
According to UK animal welfare group RSPCA, outside temperatures of 22°C (71°F) can reach a brutal 47°C (116.6°F) inside a car within an hour.
“Police officers attended and tried to get a contact number for the owners of the car but were unable,” a Sussex Police spokesperson said. “Officers had no choice but to smash the side window to gain access and a kind member of the public donated a bottle of water.”
Authorities added that the officers let the pet owners off with a stern warning, without ticketing the family or separating their dogs from them.
Golden Retriever Filmed Giving Woodchuck Ride Across Massachusetts Lake
There are some occasions when the natural world resembles something we might think belongs to the realm of Disney films but no – it’s simply the animal kingdom in motion.
Such was the case when a dog owner captured amazing footage of her dog giving a ride to a small rodent across a lake in Massachusetts.
Lauren Russel was with her dog, Wally the golden retriever, at Hickory Hills Lake in Lunenburg last month when the dog encountered a woodchuck in the water.
So Wally did one any good dog of his breed would do – he gave his new friend a ride back to shore.
“He was about 100 meters out and a woodchuck, I think, just crawled right up on his back and he swam back to shore with him,” Russell told WCVB on Monday.
She always knew that her Wally was a friendly pooch, but she never imagined something like this.
“We were flabbergasted. It was unbelievable. We couldn’t believe what we were seeing,” Russell continued.
To top things off, once they arrived onshore, Wally and his fast friend gave each other what appeared to be a kiss.
“They like touched snouts and then he ran away,” Russell said.
You can watch the video of the touching event here:
Tiny Creature Frozen for 24,000 Years is Brought Back to Life
A microscopic creature has come back to life and reproduced asexually after 24,000 years of lying dormant in the permafrost of Siberia.
Russian scientists found the tiny freshwater creature, called the bdelloid rotifer, in the rich soil of the Alazeya river of Russia’s far northern Siberan region of Yakutia.
The multicellular organism is common throughout the world and is known to be extremely resilient, capable of surviving extreme cold, dryness, starvation and low oxygen.
While previous research found that it could survive a decade when frozen at -20 degrees Celsius (-4 Fahrenheit), the new study published by the journal Current Biology offers a stunning testimony of the survivability of the tiny animal – which is by far the longest survival period known of any creature in the world.
“Our report is the hardest proof as of today that multicellular animals could withstand tens of thousands of years in cryptobiosis, the state of almost completely arrested metabolism,” said Stas Malavin, an author of the study, in a statement.
Malavin’s Soil Cryology Lab in Pushchino, Russia, used a drilling rig to extract the miniscule organism from roughly a dozen feet below the remote Arctic location.
Once the ancient organism thawed, it reproduced on its own through a process of parthenogenesis. Researchers then found that it could withstand repeatedly being frozen and thawed dozens of times due to its innate processes of cell and organ protection.
“The takeaway is that a multicellular organism can be frozen and stored as such for thousands of years and then return back to life – a dream of many fiction writers,” Malavin said.
“Of course, the more complex the organism, the trickier it is to preserve it alive frozen and, for mammals, it’s not currently possible,” the scientist added. “Yet, moving from a single-celled organism to an organism with a gut and brain, though microscopic, is a big step forward.”
Researchers hope that the knowledge gleaned from studying the microscopic organism will bring further insights on how to preserve animals’ cells, tissues and organs – including those belonging to human beings.
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