Two Australian teenagers living on Kangaroo Island reportedly used their car to rescue as many koalas as they could from the deadly wildfires sweeping across the island.
According to a post by Reddit user Steve_OH, his two cousins Micah and Caleb drove around Kangaroo Island to help vulnerable koalas.
“Amid the terrible bushfires in Australia, my cousins went out and saved as many koalas as they could,” Steve_OH wrote. “Good on em.”
The video shows Micah, 19, and Caleb, 18, quietly approaching an injured koala and inspecting it. The brothers placed a towel over the koala’s body and lifted it out of the ashes and into their car.
The koala joined a group of other injured koalas inside the teenagers’ car, including a mother with her joey cuddling quietly in the backseat.
One of the cousins can be heard talking about their small-scale koala rescue, saying, “just trying to collect as many live ones as we can.”
For the teens and their cousin who posted the video, the deadly wildfires have hit close to home.
“My cousins live on Kangaroo Island, south of Adelaide,” Steve_OH wrote. “The western half of the island has been hit hard.”
“My uncle lost his home and many others have left and lost a lot. If you pray, please pray for Australia.”
According to KSAZ-TV, the two teens brought the carful of koalas to their neighbors, who Micah said have a permit to care for wildlife. He added that sadly, one of the koalas didn’t survive the trip.
As the teens drove around, the sight of dead wildlife was sobering. As they surveyed the land, the teenagers estimated that around 60 percent of the koalas they came across had burned to death.
According to The Guardian, Kangaroo Island Wildlife Park has been left with no other choice but to euthanize about one-third of injured koalas delivered to them because of their extreme injuries.
“At least a third of what has been brought in we’ve had to euthanize, unfortunately,” Sam Mitchell, co-owner of Kangaroo Island Wildlife Park said. “We are seeing many burns to hands and feet — fingernails melted off. For some, the burns are just too extreme.”
Kangaroo Island is home to unique and endangered wildlife, including dunnarts, goannas, echidnas, bandicoots and the glossy black-cockatoos.
“People call this place a little Noah’s Ark. The island is a refuge,” ecologist Heidi Groffen told The Guardian. “This is the largest fire we have seen in a long time.”
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