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Koala Rescued After Aussie Wildfire

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 10, 2009 1:14 PM CST
Koala Rescued After Aussie Wildfire
Local CFA firefighter David Tree shares his water with an injured Australian Koala at Mirboo North after wildfires swept through the region on Monday, Feb. 9, 2009.    (AP Photo/Mark Pardew)

(Newser) – When firefighter David Tree noticed the koala, it was moving gingerly over the blackened landscape, its scorched paws clearly causing pain. "I could see she had sore feet and was in trouble, so I pulled over the fire truck," Tree told the Herald Sun. “It was amazing,” said the firefighter. “He turned around, sat on his bum and sort of looked at me like, 'Put me out of my misery.'" Tree got a bottle of water, and as he tipped it to the koala's lips, the koala “just took it naturally…almost like a baby.”

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“I love nature,” Tree said. “I’ve handled koalas before. They’re not the friendliest things, but I wanted to help him.” The koala, whom Tree nicknamed “Sam,” is doing fine, wildlife officials say, though it turns out he’s really a she. Countless animals were killed in the deadly wildfires, which hit farming and forest regions to the north and east of Melbourne. (Read more koala stories.)

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