It's no secret that koalas have been some of the hardest-hit native species of the relentless Australian bushfires. There's been some devasting statistics, images, and news surfacing from this tragedy and it's showing no signs of slowing down.
But, today, a positive story has emerged amidst all the tragedy - a tiny koala with badly burned paws seems well on the way to recovery. Read on for Billy's inspiring story.
Australia is being ravished by one of the worst bush fire crises the world has seen in decades.
New South Wales is suffering immensely at the moment.
via: Getty ImagesThere have been fires reported in every state, but New South Wales is truly taking a beating by bush fires and is undoubtedly the hardest hit. 5,900 buildings have now been destroyed.
NSW declared a state of emergency last month.
via: Getty ImagesWhat does this mean? Well, it grants "extraordinary powers" to the NSWRFS commissioner, including the authority to allocate government resources and direct government agencies in taking action, according to CNN.
Twenty-nine people have been confirmed to have died in the fires since they started...
via: Getty ImagesIncluding several volunteer firefighters.
The Australian fire services have truly been stretched to their limits.Firefighters all over the country have been tirelessly battling the formidable blazes and are struggling to contain them.
Australia has even been forced to make a global call for help...
via: Getty ImagesAnd it was Canada that was the first to respond and take action. The Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre, based in Winnipeg, answered the call for help after realizing the bush fire situation is expected to continue for many more weeks and gave up their Christmas to help fight the raging fires.
Other countries offered their assistance...
via: Getty ImagesIncluding the U.S. and New Zealand, who have sent in more firefighters to try and help tackles the blazes.
But even with assistance from overseas...
welcome to 2020. Australia is literally burning. 4,000 people have fled to Mallacoota beach as a bushfire bears dow… https://t.co/2H0VUuWWAp— Tom Warren (@Tom Warren)1577768890.0
How long could the fires actually be burning for?
via: Getty ImagesSadly, Australia has only just entered summer, meaning temperatures could remain high for some weeks. In fact, temperatures usually reach their highest during January and February, so there may be no end in sight for months.
And, even more heartbreakingly so, the fires have also had a devasting impact on wildlife.
via: Getty ImagesSeveral of Australia's native species have been affected including kangaroos, koalas, wallabies, possums, wombats, and echidnas.
And the latest statistics are some of the most alarming yet.
And that's not all...It's feared that animals that managed to survive the flames will need huge amounts of humanitarian assistance to get populations anywhere near back to what they used to be.
Residents have even been trying to rescue helpless animals themselves.
Now let’s talk about the animals lost in this #Bushfire crisis. Rare and beautiful species, unique to Australia, e… https://t.co/FuXC7nS9k4— Dr. Meraiah Foley (@Dr. Meraiah Foley)1577914002.0
A staggering number of animals have perished in the fires.
via: Getty ImagesAnd its only set to get worse.
Over one billion animals have died.
And it is the koalas who have been amongst the hardest hit.
It's a heartbreaking fact...
via: GettyBut koalas simply don't stand as good of a chance as the other native animals.
A koala's instinct is to climb to safety...
via: GettySo, rather than running away like the other animals, they are climbing higher into the burning trees.
And the eucalyptus trees in which they reside are incredibly flammable...
And, as a result, housands of helpless koalas have been finding themselves stuck in the burning trees...
via: GettyWith no possible means of escape.
So it is of vital importance that we help the struggling marsupials as much as we can.
via: GettyAnimal hospitals across the country have been overflowing with injured koalas, and thousands of people have been donating and volunteering in a desperate attempt to get their population numbers back up.
And many people have been taking matters into their own hands...
via: GettyBy rescuing the struggling koalas themselves.
It's truly heartwarming to see the efforts made by the Australian people...
via: GettyAnd people all over the world have been donating money in a bid to provide the surviving koalas with the food and care they so desperately need.
But there has been some hope...The story of one rescue koala, Billy, has people feeling heart-warmed amid the tragedy.
via: FacebookThis cutie was discovered clinging to a tree in Adelaide Hills, Australia, with 4 very badly burned paws. Some good Samaritans picked him up and took him for medical care.
Lucy and Adam Francis of Adelaide and Hills Koala Rescue shared his story on Facebook.
via: FacebookOn Christmas day, they shared, "Billy has burns to all of his paws and is receiving daily treatments. He will be in care for some time as his burns heal and is monitored closely, as secondary infections from the burns can be what causes a koala’s death, rather than the burns themselves."
"We made a makeshift enclosure for him in our kitchen so we could be close to him always."
via: Facebook"We used a camping mattress for him to sit on and placed a pillow behind him for him to lean back on, as it was difficult for him to sit in a normal koala position. He was clearly in shock, frightened, and covered in soot and ash from the fire," she told The Dodo.
Billy had a truly endearing personality.
via: Facebook"We have a very close relationship with him, and he lets us handle him as we need to and clearly trusts us, despite still being very much a wild koala."
Billy is clearly in good hands.
via: Facebook"His personality is so gentle and calm, even when we have to rub cream into his blisters and burns, or administer his vitamin mixture which we’re really sure he hates. It’s like giving a very furry, reluctant child their medicine."
And despite his ordeal, he's never lost his appetite.
via: FacebookThe Facebook page has posted many cute snaps of Billy munching eucalyptus. And even better? He seems set to make a full recovery. "We can’t wait to see him fully recover, although he will leave a very big Billy-shaped hole in our home and in our hearts." Billy is not the only koala to have a happy ending. Scroll on for an adorable makeshift shelter created for the cute creatures.