The koala bear hospital saving fire victims

Feeling better: Female koala, Anwen, recovering well at the Koala Hospital in Australia. © Getty

Hot and dry weather in Australia has made its annual forest fires much worse this year. The country’s favourite animals, koala bears, are being rescued and looked after in special hospitals.

What’s happening

Anwen and Paul are doing really well – they have both been moved from the intensive care unit to the rehabilitation yards outside. All their bandages have been removed and they are both eating well and climbing the trees in their yards. Their ears are still quite singed, but the fur will grow back.

Find out more

Anwen and Paul are koalas rescued from Australia’s bush fires this month.

Since September, around six million hectares of Australia have been destroyed, made much worse by temperatures of over 40ºC and strong winds.

The hardest-hit state of New South Wales (NSW), an area twice the size of Belgium, is scorched — making it four times bigger than the worst of the fire damage in the Amazon forests last year.

Australian bushfires have occurred for thousands of years and are well-studied, with four large events in the past century. However, research has also shown that global warming has made the situation worse.

Are humans really to blame?

Some say…

No! Australia has always had bushfires, and this year’s event isn’t that unnatural. Earth has gone through many climate crises, including extreme warming and cooling. Furthermore, weather and climate patterns are complex, so it is hard to say that the latest fires are chiefly down to human activity.

Others think…

Yes! Bushfire conditions are now far more dangerous than before, with longer fire seasons, drought, drier fuels, drier soil and record-breaking heat. These conditions are caused mainly by human activity over the past century. We can’t escape the fact that we are to blame.

You Decide

  1. Are koala bears the cutest animals on Earth?

Activities

  1. Draw a picture of a koala and write down a list of five fascinating facts about it.

Some People Say...

“Being prepared for disaster will mean being prepared to sift truth from rumour.”

Rebecca Solnit, US writer

What do you think?

Word Watch

Rehabilitation
Recovery.
Singed
A bit burned – like toast.
Hectares
A square of land with sides 100 metres long.
Furthermore
Another word for “what is more” or “on top of that”.
Drought
No rain for a long time.

Subjects

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