A koala and her baby who were pictured huddling together during a bushfire in south-east Queensland are due to be released back into the wild this week.
Nine-year-old momma koala Ainslee was found cradling her joey Rupert by photographers while the Australian wildfires devastated their natural habitat in Canungra in September. While firefighters attempted to quell the raging inferno, the mom and her were rescued and taken to RSPCA Queensland.Watch this incredible footage of a woman risking her life to save koalas from the fires:
Soon after, images of the adorable pair emerged on social media, and people were touched by the plight of their species. Thanks to Ainslee's protective hug, Rupert only suffered from smoke inhalation, as a result, of the fires. Meanwhile, Ainslee had burnt paws and had singed hair all over her body. Now they're ready to be released back into the wild.
Commenting on the news, carer Sam Longman told ABC: "If [Rupert] gets himself into a pickle and starts to yip, which is the koala equivalent of crying, she becomes quite alert and responsive. I think it's fantastic they will be released but scary at the same time. Where they came from, there's nothing left."
According to a recent report by Reuters, the recent bushfires have ravaged around 2.5 million acres of farmland and bushland on Australia’s east coast, killing four people and destroying hundreds of homes.Check out The Australian Foundation's video about saving these special animals:
In an interview with Reuters, Romane Cristescu, an ecologist at The University of the Sunshine Coast,) stated: "With climate change, habitat loss and diseases, koalas are just facing too many threats. Those fires are just one of the many things threatening them so we really need to be better at protecting them."
If you'd like to help out koala bears affected by the bushfires, then please consider donating to this fundraiser.