Injured koalas sit in washing baskets and receive care at makeshift Kangaroo Island animal hospital

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Published on 18 Jan 2020, 6:37
Animal rescue teams on Australia's Kangaroo Island give medical care to several koalas as they battled to save the lives of the animals injured in wildfires.

Video shows injured koalas having their paws cleaned and bandaged.

Australia, famous for its pristine beaches and wildlife, has been fighting bushfires since September, with fires killing 29 people and millions of animals, and destroying more than 2,500 homes while razing an area roughly a third the size of Germany.

Intense thunderstorms with heavy rains dampened bushfires on Australia's east coast on Friday, to the relief of exhausted firefighters and farmers battling years of drought and granting a reprieve to the organisers of next week's Australian Open.

Government agency Primary Industries and Regions SA (PIRSA) said 42,727 sheep, 1,152 cattle, 6 horses and 52 other farm animals had either been killed or euthanised due to their injuries on Kangaroo Island alone, according to the RSPCA and local media reports.

RSPCA South Australia said one field tent on the island was caring for more than 100 burned koalas.

"It's the first disaster zone I've been to and it's overwhelming when you realise the vast majority of koalas on the island have lost their habitat and a significant number have died in the fire," RSPCA South Australia's chief veterinarian Dr. Brad Ward said in a written statement.

"It's gone from a situation where there was probably an overpopulation of koalas a few years ago, to now where they're under-population - providing a habitat for those that are recovering will be tough," he added.

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