We finally have some good news amid the coronavirus chaos! Everyone remembers the bushfires in Australia that burned most of the jungles down and affected millions of animals in the region. According to wildlife authorities, the country has slowly released koalas back into their natural environment after months of destruction that surrounded the animals.
In the Kanangra-Boyd National Park in the state of New South Wales, four adult Koalas and one brand new joey have been released. During the bushfires, they were rescued from the Blue Mountains area and were put in the shelter with 8 other koalas in Sydney’s Taronga Zoo since January. Others will be released soon due to the risk of coronavirus outbreak so this month, 13 koalas will return to their homes safely.
In the destruction that reached its peak in January, almost 10,000 koalas that amount to a third of the total koala population of NSW were killed. The drought in the summer proved to be even more dangerous and the koala hospitals in the country received an overwhelming amount of emergencies, mostly for burns and dehydration.
After therapy and proper treatment, four fortunate Koalas along with a newly acquired joey have been taken to the wild by Sydney-based not-for-profit wildlife conservation organization Science for Wildlife with the assistance of San Diego Zoo Global, the U.S. zoo's nonprofit that works with partners on international conservation projects.
Source: NewYork Post
"While they have coped well in care we are delighted to finally send our koalas home," said Dr. Kellie Leigh, executive director of Science for Wildlife in a press statement. "We have been busy assessing the burnt area that we rescued them from, to establish when the conditions have improved enough that the trees can support them again. The recent rains have helped and there is now plenty of new growth for them to eat, so the time is right. We will be radio-tracking them and keeping a close eye on them to make sure that they settle in OK."
The Blue Mountains Koala Project has been in action for five years now after it was set up by San Diego Zoo Global and Science for wildlife and it aims to provide resources in the wildlife to increase the population of Koalas in the region. They worked towards removing as many koalas as they could when the bushfires broke out in New South Wales and even though the number of species rescued wasn't high, it still helped in restoring some of their population.
Source: New York Post
"During the massive fires, as 80 percent of the World Heritage Area burnt, we were at risk of losing the entire koala population at this site and so that’s what drove us to try something so radical and pull these koalas out before the fire hit," said Dr. Leigh.
Dr. Leigh also talks about the devices they used to track the location as she said, "The radio-tracking devices that enabled us to find the koalas quickly and move them from in front of the fire will now allow us to follow them and find out more about how koalas use the landscape after fire, including where else we might find pockets of surviving koalas. That will help us to plan a future for koalas under climate change, where we expect more frequent and intense fires."
Source: Queensland Times
Climate change has caused many animals in the world to go extinct and this bushfire would have wiped out the entire evolution of koala bears if not for the rescue operations carried out by the authorities. They have been declared “functionally extinct” by the Australia Koala Foundation so wildlife organizations are doing everything in their power to increase their population.