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Bear Care

It’s not just humans who are surviving the deadly bush fires in Australia. Animals of all shapes and sizes are starting to limp, stagger or be carried from the worst-affected fire areas – many of these are being taken in by wildlife shelters across the country.

Among the animal survivors is Bellerine the possum, who was found with third-degree burns on her feet, a young echidna that was suffering smoke inhalation and, perhaps the most famous of them all, Sam the koala bear, who was saved by firefighter David Tree who stopped to give her a drink from his water bottle while he was out fighting the devastating fires.

Pictures of Sam traveled quickly through cyberspace and were featured in major newspapers and news shows around the world. Sam, who is recovering in Mountain Ash Wildlife Shelter, suffered burns on her paws and was in a lot of pain, but is on the road to recovery.

David Tree said he was in the middle of backburning when he saw Sam. “I could see she had sore feet and was in trouble, so I pulled over the fire truck. She just plonked herself down, as if to say ‘I'm beat.’ I offered her a drink and she drank three bottles. The most amazing part was when she grabbed my hand. I will never forget that.”

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