A heartbreaking photo shows a koala burying its face in its fur after finding her friend lifeless in the river.
The photo, which was captured on Kangaroo Island, south of Adelaide, shows a grieving koala and its dead friend in the water.
The koala was rescued by the Humane Society’s Animal Rescue team after the photo was taken.
One internet user commented: “Absolutely heartbreaking…”
Another wrote: “Everything is dying. It’s hard not to be emotional about it.”
A third added: “This will stay with me for the rest of the day and probably longer. Absolutely heartbreaking.”
A team was sent to the island by Humane society International to help rescue animals from the burned area after one-third of the island was incinerated.
Around 80 percent of koala habitat got destroyed and as the fires swept through almost half of Kangaroo Island.
Kelly Donithan, HIS’s senior specialist, said to One Green Planet that the scenes she faced were shattering.
“These are some of the toughest scenes I’ve ever witnessed as an animal rescuer: the bodies of charred animals as far as the eye can see,” she expressed.
“But as we set out each day on search and rescue, we’re still finding animals alive, injured, dazed or traumatised, and it’s such a relief to be able to give them immediate life.”
South Australia Veterinary Emergency Management team leader Steven Selwood said around 46,000 koalas were thought to be on the island before bushfires occurred.
“The fires here were particularly ferocious and fast-moving so we’re seeing a lot less injured wildlife than in other fires,” he explained. “A lot of the wildlife was incinerated.”
Sussan Ley, Australian Environment Minister, said the population of koala in the country had taken an ‘extraordinary hit.’ She also said that the animals could be listed as ‘endangered’ for the first time.
Kangaroo Island is the only place in the country where the population is completely free of chlamydia.
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