It was in March that Australia sent out the announcement that the bushfires were finally over. The world breathed a collective sigh of relief after watching them raging for some 240 days. Now that the bushfires are a thing of the past, the rebuilding is what we are looking at for the future. It involves rebuilding homes for people who lost their possessions in the fires as well as helping the animals that were injured. Across Australia, veterinary hospitals were overwhelmed with animals arriving during the crisis and now the first to arrive are well enough that they can be released.
Anwen, A female koala, is included in that number. She was the first admitted to the Port Macquarie Koala Hospital in October 2019.
She received five months of specialized care and has now gone back to living in the wild. Anwen is one of 49 koalas who spent time at the Koala Hospital. She is now going back home along with several others.
“This was an incredibly emotional moment for the vets, volunteers, and koalas, as these heart-melting pics show,” wrote the Greater Port Macquarie Facebook page.
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“Their habitat is recovering beautifully with the recent rain and there is plenty of food and water. What a journey!”
Anwen was suffering from a chlamydia infection and was covered in burns when she arrived. She has become somewhat of a symbol of hope for other koalas. The news out of New South Wales is that almost 30% of the koala habitat was decimated and 2,000 koalas died in the fires.
The situation was so serious that some experts were calling the species functionally extinct. Now that Anwen has gone back to the Lake Innes Nature Reserve, other members of the species may be able to do well in the new conditions.
“Anwen was our first-ever female koala to be admitted during the bushfires and her recovery has been extraordinary,” said Sue Ashton, president of the Koala Hospital. “It marks a proud moment for Australia; to see our Koala population and habitat starting to recover from what was such a devastating time. To be able to release so many of our koalas back to their original habitats, even to their original tree in some cases—makes us very happy.”
Watch the following video to see this koala going back home after five months in the hospital.
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