Two kindhearted Australian teens have driven through wildfire-ravaged bushland to rescue a carload of injured koalas and deliver them to safety.
A viral video documents Micah Lovegrove and his cousin’s rescue mission as they loaded their car with at least six singed koalas after a wildfire devastated Kangaroo Island, a biodiverse island off the coast of South Australia.
Lovegrove, whose uncle lost his property in the fire, started an impromptu rescue mission and has been rounding up as many koalas as possible. He delivers them to his neighbor, who has a permit to care for wildlife, Storyful reported.
“Doing a little koala rescue... Just trying to collect as many live ones as we can,” one of the teenagers says in the video.
Kangaroo Island was home to one of Australia’s only chlamydia-free populations of koalas and was considered a haven for the marsupial. The island’s population was estimated at 50,000.
Department of Environment bushfire recovery coordinator Brenton Grear said in a press release that the injured koalas must be treated locally and not taken to the mainland in order to avoid contamination.
Due to the magnitude of the fires burning on the island, it is too soon to know how many animals have been affected, the press release stated.
The inferno tore through 625 square miles ― a third of Kangaroo Island ― destroying a large portion of the Flinders Chase National Park. Two men, a father and a son, were killed in the blaze.
The South Australian and federal governments have announced an $11 million funding package for those devastated by the fires, and the Australian Defence Force has commenced recovery and relief efforts.