Like many koalas across Australia, Billy has suffered greatly during the ongoing bushfire crisis, having severely burned each of his four little paws.
Staff from koala rescue organisation 1300Koalaz fortunately found the scorched animal up a tree in the Adelaide Hills, surrounded by scenes of utter devastation.
The sweet boy reportedly cried loudly as he was lifted from the tree and taken to safety. However, he soon settled down as he realised he was in safe hands.
Billy has traded in his boxing gloves and socks for a single fingerless glove on one hand and a toeless sock on one of…
Posted by Supporting 1300Koalaz on Thursday, January 9, 2020
Billy was taken in by kindly animal lovers Lucy and Adam Francis, a couple who work alongside 1300Koalaz to help rescue and rehabilitate the many koalas who have been wounded as the wildfires continue to blaze.
After rushing Billy to a vet to be treated and bandaged, the caring couple took him to their home where he could begin to heal in comfort.
Speaking with The Dodo, Lucy said:
As his paws were all bandaged he was unable to climb or be in the normal kind of enclosure that we use for koalas in care, so we had to think outside of the box and we made a makeshift enclosure for him in our kitchen so we could be close to him always.
We used a camping mattress for him to sit on, and placed a pillow behind him for him to lean back in as it was difficult for him to sit in a normal koala position. He was clearly in shock, frightened and covered in soot and ash from the fire.
When Billy first came to us and might have bitten my husband’s hand had he been a different-tempered koala, he sniffed it and licked it gently instead.
We have a very close relationship with him and he lets us handle him as we need to and clearly trusts us, despite still being very much a wild koala.
Billy was understandably a little depressed at first, but has now perked up and is thankfully doing very well, getting stronger by the day. The couple have gradually able to gain his trust by stroking his fur while giving him medicine.
Lucy told The Dodo:
His personality is so gentle and calm, even when we have to rub cream into his blisters and burns, or administer his vitamin mixture — which we’re really sure he hates — it’s like giving a very furry, reluctant child their medicine.
He holds our hands with his back paws when we apply cream to his coccyx burn.
Our thoughts are with all those heroic individuals who are working to protect the vulnerable animals of Australia at this difficult time.
You can donate to the Victorian Bushfire Appeal here, with all funds raised going towards giving immediate support to those whose lives have been greatly affected by the blaze.
Queensland residents can formally register as a volunteer in the ongoing bushfire effort at Emergency Volunteering or by calling Volunteering Queensland on 1800 994 100.
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