Absolute Hero Risks Her Life To Save Koala From Raging Bushfire
Incredible footage has emerged from a bushfire burning near Port Macquarie in New South Wales.
We've all heard how devastating these fires have been for the local koala population, but a woman has put her life at risk to ensure the region doesn't lose one more.
9News has shown a koala, clearly injured from burns to its body, stumble across the road in Long Flat, west of Port Macquarie and back into bushland under threat.
A local known only as Toni doesn't hesitate and rushes into the fire zone to pick up the iconic Aussie animal. She took off her top to collect the animal, further risking her body to flames.
She doused the koala in water before wrapping it up in a towel and giving it a bit of water to drink.
Toni said she was going to take the animal to the Port Macquarie Koala Hospital - which is treating more than a dozen animals.
There's no doubt whatsoever that the woman's quick thinking saved the life of this koala.
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The same can't be said for hundreds of other koalas in the region who have been 'incinerated' by the raging bushfires.
Koala Conservation Australia president Sue Ashton told the Sydney Morning Herald: "We think most of the animals were incinerated - it's like a cremation. They have been burnt to ashes in the trees."
The koalas in this region are described as some of the most genetically diverse in the whole country.
The hospital's clinical director Cheyne Flanagan told the Daily Telegraph: "The fires are at such a high intensity, we're not finding any bodies. They're completely incinerated to ash."
Estimates vary at the moment as teams haven't been able to inspect all the affected areas, but experts reckon there are as many as 350 dead koalas in the area.
Teams sent into an area where the fire danger is low to assess the situation and have been aided by Bear the Koala Detection Dog.
Bear has been deployed to the Cooroibah area near Noosa, Queensland.
The dog has been trained to sniff out koalas even at the trickiest of times and it's hoped these heightened senses will be key in finding any koala that has managed to live through the inferno.
Bear belongs to the International Fund for Animal Welfare Australia (IFAW) and is being looked after by handlers at Detection Dogs for Conservation.
Sadly, he hasn't found any koalas yet, but they're not giving up hope.