Warrnambool is known as a key habitat for Koalas in the state of Victoria. So when the summer bushfires of ‘06-’07 swept through the area, it was these defenceless Australian natives who were among the hardest hit. Those not killed in fires were discovered in their hundreds, injured and unable to climb down from burned trees or facing dehydration and starvation because of the destruction of their homes.

Inspired by stories of their predicament, a young girl doing Kenja training with her family in Melbourne was drawn to take immediate action. She rallied together some grown-ups and her sister and before long, a Kenja in the Community team was heading for a Koala rescue shelter, armed with bundles of donated towels, blankets and an urn, small feeding droppers, pillow cases and sheets which the girls had organised.

On arrival, they saw Koalas with bandaged limbs, koalas being rehydrated on drips, some koalas quietly resting and building their strength and others enjoying the cool relief of fans while being attended to by wildlife carers, vets and volunteers. The girls and their team delivered their much-needed goods and spent the day learning more about the koala’s situation.

Some 150 koalas had originally been brought to that shelter, but many had been nursed and returned to a different, food-rich location in Victoria’s bush. Sadly, a number died despite the rescue efforts. And around 20 remained in care, in various stages of recovery. The girls were delighted to see all remaining animals in such good hands, and even more thrilled by the opportunity to hold some of the baby Koalas.

It’s inspiring to see young people self-motivated and passionate enough about things that personally matter to them, to have spoken out and organised a trip that helped invaluably. Today, they continue to get reports on the koalas’ progress, monitoring the situation from their home.

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