Heartbreaking moment wildlife rescuer breaks down after desperately trying to save dying koalas and kangaroos after bushfires destroyed their habitat
- Wildlife rescuers have descended on Kangaroo Island to help injured animals
- Animals were decimated there this bushfire season, with 35,000 koalas dead
- Dramatic footage captured the emotional turmoil the scene had on the rescuers
- New growth has been spotted in razed areas of the island after the bushfires
- Residents are hopeful that tourist traffic will start to return to the holiday island
Heartbreaking footage has emerged of wildlife rescuers attempting to save injured koalas and kangaroos after bushfires destroyed their habitat.
A group of animal rescuers descended on South Australia’s Kangaroo Island to help wildlife after fire razed through the island over the summer period.
Two people were killed in an out-of-control blaze in January which burnt out a third of the island, with torched animals found littered through the Flinders Chase National Park.
More than 200,000 hectares of land was devastated by the fires, and an estimated 35,000 koalas were killed.
Humane Society International Crisis Response Specialist Kelly Donithan picks up an injured koala on Kangaroo Island in January
Wildlife and their habitats were decimated by bushfire over the summer period, with more than 200,000 hectares of land burnt
Wildlife rescuers have been collecting injured animals and taking them to safe havens and animal hospitals including a makeshift field hospital at the Kangaroo Island Wildlife Park
A team of wildlife rescuers led by Kelly Donithan from Humane Society Internationale trawled through the island recently for Channel Seven’s Koala Rescue.
Rescuers wandered through vast settings of burnt out trees to find struggling animals and transport to safe havens on the island.
Ms Donithan was filmed with a severely burnt kangaroo initially thought to be dead and became emotional when talking about the marsupial’s fate.
‘We’re seeing them around, these guys, and it’s hard to really tell how bad their injuries are while they’re still pretty mobile,’ Ms Donithan said.
‘But when you find them in this state, we know it’s because the burns have gotten so bad on their feet that their skin and tissue and everything is dying.
‘I don’t think anything should be left out to suffer any sort of pain or hunger, it’s just a really awful way for them to have to pass, it brings me peace to be able to give them that.’
Kelly Donithan checks up on a koala she rescued on Kangaroo Island in January
Koalas rest in washing baskets with baskets at the makeshift field hospital at the Kangaroo Island Wildlife Park
There are fears for the survival of key native species including the island’s glossy black cockatoo population and the Kangaroo Island dunnart.
Native flowers and greenery have begun to bloom on the island since the flames were extinguished in mid-January.
New growth has been spotted in burnt out regions of the island, with each growing shrub offering new hope for the island and its ecosystems.
Residents are hoping for return in tourist traffic, and a much-needed local economic boost for local businesses.
Qantas announced earlier this month that they will more than double the number of flights between Adelaide and Kangaroo Island after a decision by Regional Express to withdraw from the route.
Trees in the burnt out landscape have started showing new growth and a regeneration of the local ecosystem