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Koala And Joey Rescued From Queensland Bushfires Set To Be Released

Koala And Joey Rescued From Queensland Bushfires Set To Be Released

Ainslee the koala and her joey, Rupert, are due to be released back into the wild

Rebecca Shepherd

Rebecca Shepherd

A koala and her joey who stole the hearts of the world after they were pictured huddling surrounded by the ashes of the Canungra bushfires are set to be released back into the wild.

The pair were caught up in the September fires and mother, Ainslee, took such good care of joey, Rupert, that he was rescued with just smoke inhalation.

According to ABC, nine-year-old Ainslee on the other hand had come away from the disaster with burnt paws and all of her hair was singed.

Rupert and Ainslee at the RSPCA hospital.

The duo were rescued and transferred to RSPCA Queensland and after weeks of treatment they are set to be released back into their natural habitat.

Sam Longman, who cared for the pair after a few weeks of being in the RSPCA hospital, told ABC: "She's a good mum, she always had her hand on him, her arm around him.

"She would constantly cuddle him. If he gets himself into a pickle and starts to yip, which is the koala equivalent of crying, she becomes quite alert and responsive."

Ainslee was given daily supplements, multivitamins and is being fed the finest gum leaves to make a full recovery.

According to Sam, 12-month-old Rupert is doing so well that he's even got the opportunity to irritate his mother.

She went on: "He's well adjusted and then some. He's a little galavant, his personality is just out there. He gets around, so naughty.

"He's starting to play, biting his mum's face, legs, arms, knees and she is starting to growl at him more and he's getting in trouble.

"But she's doing really well with him, I'm really impressed - from what she's been through to where she is now."

Ainslee and Rupert when they were first discovered.
Queensland Police Service

Sam wants to wait a couple of months to release the pair so Rupert is more independent and can make it on his own in the wild as joeys usually break free of their mothers at 18 months.

She added: "I think it's fantastic they will be released but scary at the same time. Where they came from, there's nothing left."

Hundreds of koala bears living on a coastal reserve in New South Wales died during the bushfires.

According to Reuters, a blaze at the Lake Innes Nature Reserve has destroyed two-thirds of the koalas' habitat, leaving the rest under threat from one of 15 major blazes in the southeastern state.

Koala Conservation Australia estimates that around 350 koalas living on the reserve in the north coast town of Port Macquarie have died. President Sue Ashton said there was a total population of 500 to 600 koalas in the reserve prior to the blaze.

Featured Image Credit: Queensland Police Service

Topics: News, bushfire, Animals, Australia