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Episode 85: Hundreds of Koala Decimated by Australian Bush Fires

A burns patient at Taree Koala Hospital

Hundreds of koalas are estimated to have perished in the New South Wales bushfires.

DOWNLOAD the script in Italian and English side by side.

Italian

Christeen McLeod ha trascorso diversi giorni indaffarati e rivelatori tra gli incendi del New South Wales.

"In all of my life I’ve never seen anything like what’s unfolded since Friday with the fire. It’s absolute devastation.”

McLeod è la responsabile di Koalas In Care, un servizio di soccorso per koala ammalati e feriti nella cittadina del New South Wales di Taree.

La località è stata una delle più colpite dagli incendi, che hanno già causato perdite pesanti nella popolazione dei koala dello stato.

La McLeod e suo marito Paul sono stati costretti a intensificare le operazioni nei giorni scorsi, dando addirittura rifugio a koala feriti nel loro soggiorno.

L'ultima arrivata è una cucciola rimasta orfana, lasciata sola nella zona in fiamme dopo la morte della madre.

McLeod racconta che l'impatto degli incendi sulla popolazione dei koala si ripercuoterà nel futuro.

"We can only imagine the impact that is going to have on koalas in that area. It’s a little bit too much to handle, emotionally, to see these animals coming in burnt to a crisp.”

McLeod rivela che occuparsi dei koala è un'attività impegnativa.

"Once we assess them and we start their treatment, it’s a very full on-regime of treatment. These animals are highly distressed from the ordeal of the fire. We have to sedate them to be able to treat them because they're so highly distressed they're wanting to bite and lash out at us. For our own safety and their own good, they’ve got to be sedated to be able to attend to all their injuries."

Ventisei koala sono stati accuditi martedì pomeriggio.

McLeod ha dichiarato che, insieme a suo marito, non intende rilasciarli nella boscaglia troppo presto.

"We were scheduled to release three of our koalas on Friday when this started to unfold, so we just cancelled all of that and they're here. Thank goodness we did, because they would have been right in the line of fire."

Il World Wildlife Fund ha reso noto che più di 5.000 ettari di habitat dei koala sono andati perduti nel nord del New South Wales da quando lo stato ha revocato il suo Native Vegetation Act nel 2017.

E questo prima degli ultimi incendi.

McLeod dichiara di essere incerta sul futuro della popolazione di koala della zona.

"We’ve lost a lot of our koala habitat. Because we haven’t been able to get into the area yet, because it’s still very unsafe to do so, we really don’t know what we’re going to find when we actually get on the ground. In the future, we’re going to have to look at where we’re releasing and what’s actually left in vegetation. That in itself is going to create all sort of existing problems for the koalas that have survived."


English

Christeen McLeod has had a busy, eye-opening few days amid the New South Wales bushfires.

"In all of my life I’ve never seen anything like what’s unfolded since Friday with the fire. It’s absolute devastation.”

Ms McLeod is the facility manager at Koalas In Care, a rescue service for sick and injured koalas in the New South Wales town of Taree.

The town has been one of those worst-affected by the fires, which have already taken a heavy toll on the state’s koala population.

Ms McLeod and her husband, Paul, have been forced to step up operations in recent days, even taking koalas affected by the fire into their lounge room.

The latest arrival was an orphaned female joey, left in the fire zone after her mother died.

Ms McLeod says the impact of the fires on the koala population will be felt long into the future.

"We can only imagine the impact that is going to have on koalas in that area. It’s a little bit too much to handle, emotionally, to see these animals coming in burnt to a crisp.”

Ms McLeod says koala care is labour-intensive.

"Once we assess them and we start their treatment, it’s a very full on-regime of treatment. These animals are highly distressed from the ordeal of the fire. We have to sedate them to be able to treat them because they're so highly distressed they're wanting to bite and lash out at us. For our own safety and their own good, they’ve got to be sedated to be able to attend to all their injuries."

Twenty six koalas were being treated on Tuesday afternoon.

Ms McLeod says she and her husband don't want to release them back into bush too soon.

"We were scheduled to release three of our koalas on Friday when this started to unfold, so we just cancelled all of that and they're here. Thank goodness we did, because they would have been right in the line of fire."

The World Wildlife Fund says more than 5,000 hectares of koala habitat in northern New South Wales has been lost since the state repealed its Native Vegetation Act in 2017.

And that was before these latest fires.

Ms McLeod says she's unsure what the future holds for the area’s koala population.

"We’ve lost a lot of our koala habitat. Because we haven’t been able to get into the area yet, because it’s still very unsafe to do so, we really don’t know what we’re going to find when we actually get on the ground. In the future, we’re going to have to look at where we’re releasing and what’s actually left in vegetation. That in itself is going to create all sort of existing problems for the koalas that have survived."

Report by Cassandra Bain and Evan Young 

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