(TMU) — As Australia’s unprecedented bushfire crisis continues to rage, the country’s heroes have stepped forward to perform amazing feats.
And this is no less the case for certain canines than it is for anyone else—especially when it comes to Patsy, a 6-year-old sheepdog credited with rescuing over 200 sheep threatened by the blazes.
On New Year’s Eve, farmer Stephen Hill was watching the growing fires as it began to threaten his cousin’s farm in the small Victoria town of Corryong, NBC News reports.
Hill arrived at the farm at roughly 4:15 a.m. before linking up with Patsy, who quickly gave direction to Hill’s efforts to save the herds of sheep from the encroaching wall of fire.
Once Hill and Patsy reached the sheep, they quickly began corralling them into a nearby barn.
“If you haven’t got a good dog, you can’t do so much with the sheep.
They’re really difficult to move in any way, shape, or form unless you have a good dog.”
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This is Patsy just after she and her human brought the sheep to safety on the morning of New Year’s Eve. Cool as a cucumber, Patsy waited with him until the fire got close enough to fight with a tractor and water pump. What a team! #patsythecorryongwonderdog #strongincorryong
Thanks to the pluck and skill of Patsy—along with her keen night vision—all but six out of a flock of 220 survived the ordeal, Hill said.
“A lot of livestock were killed out here or had to be euthanized. Some have lost hundreds of cattle. It has made me emotional.”
Since the fire crisis broke out in September, at least 27 people have been killed and countless thousands forced to evacuate—often repeatedly—as the historic wave of bushfires ripped through 25.5 million acres (10.3 million hectares) of land.
Ecologists at the University of Sydney estimate that over 1 billion animals have been killed in the bushfires—ranging from wildlife to pets and livestock—potentially destroying ecosystems and forever tipping the balance for whole species.
While Hill has felt extreme strain from the “devastating” fires, he still feels fortunate to have avoided the worst in terms of damage to life and property—thanks in no small part to Patsy. He added:
“I’m really lucky. I have minimal damage.”
Hill’s sister, Cath Hill, complimented Patsy as a “wonder dog” for her feats while lamenting the ongoing fires that have turned the rural area into something akin to a war zone.
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Many people have asked for the original video of Patsy to be put up, so here it is….when I stood in this burnt black paddock after the fire ripped through our family farm in Corryong, all I wanted to do was show our friends and family that we were ok, that we were still here, and that even in all the devastation we still had so much to be grateful for. So many others have lost quite literally everything they have. I never dreamed that these 20 seconds of Patsy in a paddock would spread across the world, and that me posting pictures of a little black and white dog would become my way to help my hometown recover from the worst fires in living memory. It’s funny how life works sometimes… These fires are not over. Not even close to being over. They will burn for weeks, months even, and communities all over Australia are going to be hit just like Corryong has been. Our fire season here isn’t even half way through, and it seems like nowhere is safe. It’s easy to feel helpless. But, it’s also easy to help. Make a donation to bushfire relief, no matter how small it is, trust me it will be appreciated. Every little bit helps!
Cath told Metro UK that the horrible nature of the crisis is why the Hill family publicized Patsy’s feats on Instagram, explaining:
“It’s like Armageddon.
Everyone is just trying to get water and feed to their animals, shoot the ones that can’t be saved, get temporary fences up to keep stock secure, and put out all the logs and stumps still burning.
It’s unbelievable and it’s only going to get worse. That’s why we put Patsy’s story out there … People need something positive.”
Indeed, amid the troubling news from Australia, Patsy’s example is shining proud.
Dolphin Swims Through Louisiana Neighborhood in Aftermath of Hurricane Ida
A Louisiana family was shocked to find a dolphin swimming through their neighborhood in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida.
Amanda Huling and her family were assessing the damage to their neighborhood in Slidell, Louisiana, when they noticed the dolphin swimming through the inundated suburban landscape.
In video shot by Huling, the marine mammal’s dorsal fin can be seen emerging from the water.
“The dolphin was still there as of last night but I am in contact with an organization who is going to be rescuing it within the next few days if it is still there,” Huling told FOX 35.
Ida slammed into the coast of Louisiana this past weekend. The Category 4 hurricane ravaged the power grid of the region, plunging residents of New Orleans and upwards of 1 million homes and businesses in Louisiana and Mississippi into the dark for an indefinite period of time.
Officials have warned that the damage has been so extensive that it could take weeks to repair the power grid, reports Associated Press.
Also in Slidell, a 71-year-old man was attacked by an alligator over the weekend while he was in his flooded shed. The man went missing and is assumed dead, reports WDSU.
Internet users began growing weary last year about the steady stream of stories belonging to a “nature is healing” genre, as people stayed indoors and stories emerged about animals taking back their environs be it in the sea or in our suburbs.
However, these latest events are the surreal realities of a world in which extreme weather events are fast becoming the new normal – disrupting our lives in sometimes predictable, and occasionally shocking and surreal, ways.
Mom in LA Suburbs Fights Off Mountain Lion With Bare Hands, Rescues 5-Year-Old Son
A mother in Southern California is being hailed as a hero after rescuing her five-year-old son from an attacking mountain lion.
The little boy was playing outside his home in Calabasas, a city lying west of Los Angeles in the Santa Monica Mountains, when the large cat pounced on him.
The 65-pound (30 kg) mountain lion dragged the boy about 45 yards across the front lawn before the mother acted fast, running out and striking the creature with her bare hands and forcing it to free her son.
“The true hero of this story is his mom because she absolutely saved her son’s life,” California Department of Fish and Wildlife spokesman Captain Patrick Foy told Associated Press on Saturday.
“She ran out of the house and started punching and striking the mountain lion with her bare hands and got him off her son,” Foy added.
The boy sustained significant injuries to his head, neck and upper torso, but is now in stable condition at a hospital in Los Angeles, according to authorities.
The mountain lion was later located and killed by an officer with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, who found the big cat crouching in the bushes with its “ears back and hissing” at the officer shortly after he arrived at the property.
“Due to its behavior and proximity to the attack, the warden believed it was likely the attacking lion and to protect public safety shot and killed it on sight,” the wildlife department noted in its statement.
The mountain lion attack is the first such attack on a human in Los Angeles County since 1995, according to Fish and Wildlife.
The Santa Monica Mountains is a biodiverse region teeming with wildlife such as large raptors, mountain lions, bears, coyote, deer, lizards, and snakes. However, their numbers have rapidly faded in recent years, causing local wildlife authorities to find new ways to manage the region’s endemic species.
Blue Whales Return to Spain’s Coast After Disappearing for 40 Years
Blue whales have been returning to the Atlantic coast of Spain after an absence of over 40 years in the region, when whaling industries drove the species to the brink of extinction.
Blue whales, which are the world’s largest mammals, had long disappeared from the region until the recent sightings.
The first was spotted off the coast of Galicia near Ons Island by marine biologist Bruno Díaz, who heads the Bottlenose Dolphin Research.
Another one of the majestic creatures was spotted the following year in 2018 and yet another in 2019. In 2020, two whales again made their return to the area.
It remains unclear as of yet as to why the creatures have returned to the area, but controls on local whaling industries are believed to play a role.
“I believe the moratorium on whaling has been a key factor,” Díaz remarked, according to the Guardian. “In the 1970s, just before the ban was introduced, an entire generation of blue whales disappeared. Now, more than 40 years later, we’re seeing the return of the descendants of the few that survived.”
Whaling had been a traditional industry in Galicia for hundreds of years before Spain finally acted to ban whaling in 1986, long after the blue whale’s presence in the region had faded away.
Some fear that the return of the massive sea mammals is a sign of global warming.
“I’m pessimistic because there’s a high possibility that climate change is having a major impact on the blue whale’s habitat,” said marine biologist Alfredo López in comments to La Voz de Galicia.
“Firstly, because they never venture south of the equator, and if global warming pushes this line north, their habitat will be reduced,” he continued “And secondly, if it means the food they normally eat is disappearing, then what we’re seeing is dramatic and not something to celebrate.”
Díaz said that while the data certainly supports this theory, it is too early to determine climate as the precise cause.
“It is true that the data we have points to this trend [climate change] but it is not enough yet,” he told Público news.
Another possibility is that the ancestral memory of the old creatures or even a longing for their home may offer an explanation, according to Díaz.
“In recent years it’s been discovered that the blue whale’s migration is driven by memory, not by environmental conditions,” he said. “This year there hasn’t been a notable increase in plankton, but here they are. Experiences are retained in the collective memory and drive the species to return.”
In recent years, researchers have found that migratory patterns are also driven by the cultural knowledge existing in many groups of species.
Researchers believe this type of folk memory, or cultural knowledge, exists in many species and is key to their survival.
A typical blue whale is 20-24 metres long and weighs 120 tonnes – equivalent to 16 elephants – but specimens of up to 30 metres and 170 tonnes have been found.