Teens rescue koalas from Australia bushfires, social media sends love

Katie Ramirez
January 9, 2020

Lying off Australia's southern coast, Kangaroo Island is famous for its pristine wilderness.

According to report by ecologists at the University of Sydney, almost half a billion animals in the state of New South Wales have been impacted by the fires, with millions potentially dead. The bottom photo, before the fire, was taken December 16, 2019.

The video was captioned: "Amid the awful bushfires in Australia, my cousins went out and saved as many koalas as they could".

New images from NASA illustrate the devastating impact of the wildfires in Australia.

Twenty-one species of the animal have been identified, the Kangaroo Island dunnart was first described in 1969 and can only be found on the western side of the island, which is located in South Australia.

NASA's Terra satellite recently snapped before and after imagery of the island, which lies off the mainland of South Australia.

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By the January 7, 2020 image, one can already see the fire scars on Kangaroo Island.

The NASA image showed that much of the burned areas were in the island's west, including the Flinders Chase National Park, where the fires were initially sparked by lightning strikes.

At least one-third of the island has been destroyed, putting both species' survival at risk, experts said. With the intense heat and fires now raging in Australia, parts of the country have been dealing with "pyrocumulonimbus" clouds - weather systems generated by the intense heat of the fires themselves, which bringing little rain but are packed with lightning that can spark new fires. Overall, more than one billion animals are feared dead in Australia, Chris Dickman, an ecologist at the University of Sydney told CBS News.

Kangaroo Island was home to about 50,000 to 60,000 koalas, and early estimates suggest that number may have been halved as a result of the recent bushfires.

The blazes have been burning across Australia for months, razing homes and wiping out entire towns.

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