Sometimes it takes a big event of destruction to turn the ordinary person into a hero. And two Australian teens became unlikely heroes when they chose to help the koalas in the Australian fires by taking their own van out to the fire-ravaged areas in order to “save as many koalas as they could.”
The two cousins, 19-year-old Micah and 18-year-old Caleb drove around Kangaroo Island in search of koalas, trying to save as many as they could find.
“We’re doing a little koala rescue,” one of the teens states in a video. “She’s a mother with a baby. And they’re cuddling. We’re just trying to collect as many live ones as we can.”
The video shows their vehicle full of ash-covered koalas. It has already received thousands of shares by news media outlets and individuals who support the teens’ efforts.
According to Bored Panda, about 60% of the animals the two teens encountered had already been killed in the flames. And sadly for many of the animals being brought into medical centers for treatment, the same stats apply.
A Koala caught inside the #AustralianFires cries in pain helplessly in half burnt state as help reaches finally. Australia’s Koala population has reduced to half because of these bushfires since September. Why can’t the world unite to help? Heartbreaking. pic.twitter.com/yRgaryNPZo
— Aditya Raj Kaul (@AdityaRajKaul) January 5, 2020
Sam Mitchell, co-owner of the Kangaroo Island Wildlife Park, said, “At least a third of what has been brought in we’ve had to euthanize, unfortunately. We are seeing many burns to hands and feet—fingernails melted off. For some, the burns are just too extreme.”
WATCH: Emergency workers on Kangaroo Island used water to soothe a koala burned by the Australian wildfires. https://t.co/anxe70WaJJ pic.twitter.com/TxQQTOGqrj
— NBC News (@NBCNews) January 7, 2020
Unfortunately, one of the koalas rescued by Micah and Caleb was too badly injured to survive its trip to safety. The poor koala died shortly after the teens began driving back towards home. The two teens are receiving help from a neighbor in taking care of the koalas, as the neighbor holds permits to care for wildlife.
Paul the koala makes miraculous recovery after rescue from Australian bushfire. https://t.co/PPSe9y8ULq pic.twitter.com/I6zFZcD57O
— ABC News (@ABC) January 7, 2020
It is estimated that 1.25 billion animals have been killed in the Australian bushfires since they began in September 2019. Wildlife experts believe at least 8,000 koalas have died in the bushfires, meaning that the future of the already-dwindling species is very, very precarious.
You can watch the video of Caleb and Micah’s heroic koala rescue below: