| Rachel Feltman |
WASHINGTON (WP-BLOOM) – Over the past week, a series of bush fires in Australia has left koalas badly burnt or even killed. It’s summer down there, and the hot, dry weather makes some areas prone to wildfire.
According to the International Fund for Animal Welfare, tree-hugging koalas are among the worst casualties of these fires: Imagine the cry of a baby koala, separated from its mother through the haze of bushfire smoke. Koalas are one of the worst casualties of bushfires. On a normal day, they spend about 18 hours asleep in the fork of a tree and even when fully awake, they are slow-moving creatures with a top speed of only 10 kilometres an hour. In a fast moving fire front, they are often the first to perish.
Several koalas have been rescued. Unlike most animals they rescue, the IFAW reports, koalas are incredibly docile while in human care. How sad and adorable is that?
Burns to the paw are especially common, representatives told the Guardian. “Many koalas perish in bush fires, while the lucky ones that survive are often badly injured and need intensive treatment by vets and dedicated wildlife carers,” IFAW said. “Injured koalas typically come into care with severe burns, especially on their paws, caused by contact with burning trees or from fleeing across fire grounds.”
When you spend most of your time climbing trees, paws are pretty important. So these injuries are rough on the koalas, especially when many of them have lost their natural habitats to the fires that injured them.
But mittens can offer them a bit of comfort.
The paws are slathered with burn cream and wrapped in bandages to help sooth and heal the injuries. But the animals also need special mittens to cover the dressings — and since it all needs to be changed daily, loads of mittens are needed.
If you’re within shipping range of Australia (or feeling generous enough to pay the mailing fees) you can follow the IFAW’s simple pattern to make a pair. They say it takes just minutes, even if you’re not an experienced sewer. Just make sure you use clean, 100 per cent cotton fabric.
And if the land down under is just too far, you can always donate directly to one of the rescue groups providing much-needed care to all those little joeys.