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World Woman risks her life to save a koala

12:41  20 november  2019
12:41  20 november  2019 Source:   cbsnews.com

Australian fires burn through koala colonies, killing hundreds: 'It's a national tragedy'

  Australian fires burn through koala colonies, killing hundreds: 'It's a national tragedy' Bushfires raging in eastern Australia have killed at least four people and killed so many koalas they may land on the endangered species list. © SAEED KHAN, AFP via Getty Images A dehydrated and injured Koala receives treatment at the Port Macquarie Koala Hospital in Port Macquarie on November 2, 2019, after its rescue from a bushfire that has ravaged an area of over 2,000 hectares. - Hundreds of koalas are feared to have burned to death in an out-of-control bushfire on Australia's east coast, wildlife authorities said Oct. 30.

Australia's annual bushfire season has claimed at least six lives and destroyed hundreds of homes. But one good samaritan took the time to rescue an animal in need.

a dog walking on a street: koala-rescue.jpg© Reuters koala-rescue.jpg

A woman, who said her name was Toni, was seen on video taking off her shirt and charging into the flames to save a koala. She doused the smoldering marsupial with water and took it to a sanctuary, where it's doing well.

More than 300 koalas are feared to have been killed this year. The Port Macquarie Koala Hospital even started a GoFundMe account to raise money for the animals' care. The hospital said at least 31 koalas have been brought in to get hydrated and treated for burns.

Koalas are not functionally extinct, but they need our help

  Koalas are not functionally extinct, but they need our help Reports abound Australia's bushfires have pushed the cuddly, grey marsupial to the brink but scientists have raised questions.The bushfires wreaked havoc across Australia, destroying hundreds of thousands of hectares of bushland. It's estimated up to 1,000 koalas may have killed half the population living in Port Macquarie. A tragedy, for a species already struggling to survive against the effects of climate change , disease and deforestation.

According to the Australian Koala Foundation, it's estimated around 43,000 koalas are left in the wild in Australia. They're listed as "vulnerable" under the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act.

The bushfires have left Sydney covered with smoke. BBC News reports residents were warned Tuesday about severe fire danger and parts of the city recorded air pollution levels at eight times higher than normal. But the conditions are expected to get even worse when a heatwave reaches New South Wales and Queensland.

CBS News weather contributor Jeff Berardelli said rising temperatures due to climate change dries out soil and vegetation, which in turn becomes more flammable.

"The trend is often towards greater moisture deficits in the atmosphere. Combined drier ground and relatively drier air leads to fires that grow faster and burn longer," he said.

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