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Koala With Four Burned Paws Keeps Showing His Appreciation To Human Rescuers

Amy Pilkington 12 Jan 2020

Australia is still dealing with one of the worst bushfire seasons in history and there's no sign of it ending any time soon. With such disasters, we can end up overwhelmed by the flood of bad news and upsetting stories of loss.

That's why it's important to share stories of hope amidst the chaos.

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We need success stories in the midst of disaster, even if they're small successes. These stories show us that we have a chance; that hope isn't completely gone.

Like this one about Billy the koala.

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The koala population has been hit hard by the fires and rescue organizations are doing everything they can to help.

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Besides being left without food or water after a fire burns through, many animals are also suffering burns that impede their ability to survive on their own.

Billy was found clinging to a tree in a backyard, all four of his paws burned raw.

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As he was pulled from the tree, he apparently let out one loud cry, but then settled right down, as though knowing he was safe.

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His rescuers were from 1300Koalaz who find injured or ill koalas, rehabilitate them, and then release them back into the wild.

Once Billy's burned were treated and bandaged up in "boxing gloves", he was taken to the home of Lucy and Adam Francis, who work with 1300Koalaz.

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His "gloves" make healing a bit tougher on Billy than most koalas.

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He can't climb or eat food on his own, making a regular enclosure difficult.

Lucy told The Dodo that they ended up giving him a makeshift home in their kitchen, with a camping mattress and pillows for him to lean against.

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And yet Billy has also been one of the easiest koalas they've ever taken care of.

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These are wild animals, in pain and shock, so it's not uncommon for them to bite their rescuers or cause other trouble.

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However, Billy has never bitten them.

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Right from the start, when he was first introduced to Adam, Billy simply gave the human a sniff and then licked his hand. When they need to give him medicine or see to his dressings, he's calm and patient.

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"It's like giving a very furry, reluctant child their medicine,” Lucy says.

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He clearly doesn't enjoy it, but he understands and appreciates how they're helping him.

Billy was found on Christmas Day, too weak to move or feed himself. Since then, he's grown stronger and stronger. Most recently, they've been able to swap the boxing gloves for fingerless mittens, leaving his claws free as he regains the strength to climb.

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He still has a lot of healing ahead, but the Francises are sure to miss him once he's well enough to be released back to the wild.

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If you'd like to donate to 1300Koalaz, you can do so through their website, or you can donate to the bushfire relief as a whole through WIRES.

h/t: The Dodo

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