KANGAROO ISLAND, Australia — A family in Australia rescued at least seven koalas on their property as wildfires ravaged the area.
Micah Lovegrove and his family set up an impromptu rescue operation in the area where his uncle’s house had once stood on Kangaroo Island in South Australia.
While checking out the destroyed property, Lovegrove spotted a koala huddled beside a tree nearby.
He threw a towel over the animal and brought it to a car, then began looking for other distressed koalas in the surrounding blue gum plantations.
“Just trying to collect as many live ones as we can,” Lovegrove can be heard saying in a video uploaded to YouTube, which showed several rescued koalas dotted around the car.
“We’d move the car, go running again, pick up some. Rinse and repeat. We grabbed one last guy who was super feisty so we didn’t position him in the car. Well, he’s the one on the seat,” he said.
Lovegrove brought the koalas to his neighbors, who he says have a permit to care for native wildlife. But he said one of the koalas in the car, seen on its side on the passenger seat, died on the way there.
Fires have burned through nearly 400,000 acres of land on Kangaroo Island alone, according to local news outlets.
The wildfires have been raging since September, and have been fueled by drought along with the country’s hottest and driest year on record. At least 25 people and millions of animals have been killed.