Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Sam the Koala Rescued

Before I discovered this video I tried to contact a fellow blogger who lives on a farm in a rural area north of Melbourne: Pam from Audio Video Disco..I Hear..I See..I Learn. She managed to get through to me and her response is in the comment section of the Champlain post below. Please visit her as I'm certain she would like to hear some cheerful words.

For those unable to watch embedded videos here.

The story about Sam as reported by the Melbourne Herald Sun:

"A thirsty koala rescued from the Australian wildfires has become a star on YouTube, providing much-needed relief from the disaster that has killed more than 180 people.

Firefighter Dave Tree stumbled across the female marsupial, nicknamed Sam, as he was battling blazes in Victoria state and was amazed when the parched animal guzzled down water from a bottle as he held her scorched paw.

'Things do survive the bushfire ... are you alright buddy,' he says in the footage captured by a fellow volunteer on a mobile phone.

Mr. Tree described the koala as 'looking pretty bewildered'.

'This is amazing ... how much can a koala bear?' he said as he poured two bottles of water into her mouth.

"The most amazing part was when she grabbed my hand. I will never forget that."

Koalas' cuddly appearance sometimes leads to them being likened to teddy bears, although in reality they are notoriously ill-tempered and possess powerful claws capable of inflicting savage wounds.

However Sam sat placidly as the firefighter gently stroked her.

The clip has attracted more than 71,000 hits on YouTube and Melbourne's Herald Sun newspaper is selling photographs of the extraordinary encounter, with proceeds going to volunteer firefighting organisations.

The animal suffered burns to her paws and was in a lot of pain, but was on the road to recovery at the Mountain Ash Wildlife Shelter.

She is one of 22 koalas, 14 ringtail possums, several wallabies and eastern grey kangaroos that have been handed into Gippsland carers.

However, wildlife experts fear millions of native animals may have been killed in the firestorm.

'It will be in the hundreds of thousands, possibly millions,' Gayle Chappell from the Hepburn wildlife shelter said.

'We are not just talking the animals we are familiar with, there are gliders and all sorts of possums, antechinus (a mouse-like marsupial), bandicoots, birds - there is so much wildlife.'

From another news account I read, Sam has made friends with a male koala rescued in the shelter where she's being cared for. The two koalas appear to have bonded and are hugging each other.

Donations can be made to the Red Cross in Australia.


Michele said...

Thanks for sharing Sam's story. The loss of life, the devastation, in Australia is just heartbreaking.

Reader Wil said...

What a great post, Barbara, dedicated to all the victims both animal and human! It's horrible what happens. I rang my daughter, who lives in the north of Australia, and she says that this hot weather is abnormal for the south of Australia.

Lana Gramlich said...

Thanks for sharing. This brought tears to my eyes & restored some of my faith in humanity.

bindu said...

I saw this video too! One happy story in the middle of devastation. The situation is so sad, and makes me feel so helpless.

Reb said...

Barbara, what a great video, thank you for posting it. When I saw the bears paw in his hand, I had a moment of fear for him, knowing how dangerous those paws can be.

BernardL said...

Very good vid.

Barbara Martin said...

Michele, this story provides relief from the tragedies in southern Australia by providing a glimmer of hope for those others who survived the bushfires, humans and animals alike.

L.A. Mitchell said...

What a sweet story of hope. Thanks for sharing it, Barbara :)

Barbara Martin said...

Wil, from all accounts in the media it appears the fires were started by arsonists. There had been no lighting strikes from thunderstorms. A reprehensible act.

Barbara Martin said...

Lana, I found it amazing that a wild animal like this koala, despite being thirsty, bewildered and walking on burned paws, would allow a human near. They are known for their grumpy temperaments. Animals can be surprising during the times they decide to trust humans.

Barbara Martin said...

Bindu, I'm sure there are other happy stories that will be revealed later. The situation is overwhelming, even for those of us halfway around the globe.

Reb, koalas need to be aggressive to survive as their defences are limited. The paws in the firefighter's hand was touching when you think how sore they must have been to have some relief from the pain.

Bernard, it touches everyone's soul.

Raph G. Neckmann said...

How very moving, Barbara, it made me cry.

I remember reading a series of animal story books when I was very very young, and one of them had a story about a bush fire in it - it's just come back to my mind.

It's touching to see how tender the big guy is with the little koala - and braving the claws!

Joshua said...

i saw this vid on YouTube, heart warming is an understatement.

Barbara Martin said...

L.A., it's nice to see a ray of sunshine in the darkness of horror.

Raph, I'm sure the koala sensed the kindness in David Tree and to get that much needed water at the right moment....I have linked the header of the post to a recent news bulleting where David Tree is reunited with Sam at the shelter with photos.

Josh, sentimentality is part of being human. It links us to others, human, mammals, birds and other creatures of the planet.

Mihai A. said...

With such a great tragedy this stories are always welcomed. And can bring a little smile in such dire situations.
Thank you for this story, Barbara.

Barbara Martin said...

Mihai, it will be nice in 5 to 6 months when she can be released back into the wild with healed feet.

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

In the midst of chaos, there is always some lovely story emerging. These fires were devastating and my heart went out to the people and animals there.

Barbara Martin said...

Joan, the fluctuating weather pattens seem to be wrecking havoc all over the globe. Its difficult to be prepared under such circumstances. Thanks for your visit.