0days0hours0minutes0seconds

Australia is currently experiencing the worst bushfire crisis in its history, and the wildlife and native animals are the ones suffering the most.

But, amid the heartbreaking devastation, there are some heartwarming stories emerging that are restoring our faith in humanity. One of the most recent stories comes from a truck driver who, shortly after losing his own home, found solace in a koala joey who was struggling along the side of the burning bushland.

Keep scrolling to see the adorable photos from their heartwarming encounter...

Australia is being ravaged by one of the worst bush fire crises the world has seen in decades.

Due to soaring temperatures and one of the worst droughts in years, the relentless fires have been burning since September. We're currently in January. Just let that sink in.

New South Wales is suffering immensely at the moment.

via: Getty Images

There 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. According to CNN, so far, in New South Wales alone, more than 900 houses have been destroyed.

The raging fires have had a devastating impact...

It has been reported that close to 130 bush fires continue to burn in populated coastal and inland regions across the country.

Twenty-four people have been confirmed to have died in the fires since they started...

via: Getty Images

Including several volunteer firefighters.

The Australian fire services have been stretched to their limits.

Firefighters all over the country have been tirelessly battling the formidable blazes and are struggling to contain them.

The country was forced to make a global call for help...

via: Getty Images

And 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 Images

Including 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...

There seems to be no end to the blazes. In total, more than 5.9 million hectares (14.6 million acres) have been burned, CNN reports. And those who escaped the flames have lost their homes, with all their possessions perishing to the flames.

How long could the fires actually be burning for?

via: Getty Images

Sadly, 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.

The fires have also had a devasting impact on wildlife.

via: Getty Images

Several of Australia's native species have been affected including kangaroos, koalas, wallabies, possums, wombats, and echidnas.

The country is totally unprepared for the devastation caused to its wildlife.

Science for Wildlife executive director, Dr. Kellie Leigh, told the New South Wales upper house inquiry: "We're getting a lot of lessons out of this and it's just showing how unprepared we are.
"There's no procedures or protocols in place - even wildlife carers don't have protocols for when they can go in after fire."

But what's even more concerning...

Tracy Burgess, a volunteer at Wildlife Information, Rescue and Education Services (WIRES), explained how concerning it was that rescuers were not receiving as many animal patients as they expected.
"We're not getting that many animals coming into care. So, our concern is that they don't come into care because they're not there anymore, basically," she told Reuters.

Residents have even been trying to rescue helpless animals themselves.

And of course, we all remember Lewis the Koala who was heroically rescued by a woman using the clothes off her back.

A staggering number of animals have perished in the fires.

via: Getty Images

And its only set to get worse. But the number that surfaced this week is utterly heartbreaking.

Nearly half a billion animals have died.

Ecologists from the University of Sydney have said that it's thought around 480 million mammals, birds, and reptiles have died since September. To learn more about the devasting story of one recused koala named Lewis, keep scrolling.

Koalas have been amongst the hardest hit.

It's believed that around 25,000 koalas have died in the fires.

It's a heartbreaking fact...

via: Getty

But koalas simply don't stand as good of a chance as the other native animals.

A koalas instinct is to climb out of danger...

via: Getty

So, 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...

via: Getty

Eucalyptus leaves contain a much higher concentration of oil than regular leaves, so therefore they burn at a much higher temperature and often end up exploding.

So it is of vital importance that we help the struggling marsupials as much as we can.

via: Getty

Animal 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 some have even been rescuing the distressed animals with their own bare hands...

via: Getty

A story has recently gone viral of a truck driver who picked up a baby koala from the side of the burning bushland.

Damian Campbell-Davys has, himself, been heavily affected by the bushfires.

via: Facebook

The water tank driver found himself trapped by the flames in his own home on Sunday. Yet, despite his close call with death, he has plowed on with his work, which led him to his rather miraculous encounter yesterday.

While on duty filling up water tanks near the southern NSW town of Nerriga...

via: Facebook

Damian picked up a rather unusual hitchhiker.

He spotted a little koala joey staggering out of the smoking bushland...

via: Facebook

Damian quickly went over to give the disoriented marsupial a much-needed drink of water.

And he couldn't just leave the baby in the smoking bush, could he?

via: Facebook

So, Damian did what any other decent human being would, and took the little joey back into the safe shelter of his truck.

The joey was severely dehydrated...

via: Facebook

And enjoyed more water once safely inside the truck and away from the toxic air.

The frightened animal quickly made himself comfortable...

via: Facebook

And Damien just couldn't resist giving the little fella a name. He eventually settled on “Tinny Arse" after his friend Liz “who always wins at the races", he explained to The Sydney Morning Herald. “This one was also a winner - fires were burning around him on both sides."

As for Damian...

via: Facebook

Tinny Arse was exactly the blessing he had needed after losing his home to the fires. “After the horrors of yesterday, it just made my day," he explained. “A little ray of sunshine in this nightmare."

And they just had to get a selfie.

via: Facebook

It didn't happen if you didn't get a selfie, right?

Tinny Arse was eventually collected by a wildlife carer...

via: Getty

And was whisked away to a nearby animal hospital safely out of the danger zone.