Joy among animal rights activists Down Under: The koala female Ember almost did not survive the massive bush fires in Australia four years ago - now the cute marsupial is becoming a mother for the second time. A tiny cub was discovered in her pouch, the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) said on Tuesday. "This is the very best result we could have wished for," said IFAW staffer Josey Sharrad. "We really didn't think Ember would make it and not only did she survive, she is now doing great in the wild."
Ember was just 18 months old when the wildfires devastated her home in northern New South Wales. There was no escaping the sea of flames for the little koala, but it was just enough to survive. When she was found in November 2019, Ember was severely dehydrated. Their fur was black, coated with soot and badly singed. She suffered from smoke inhalation, her lungs were clogged with soot particles, and she had severe burns on her rear end and all four paws.
Initially, IFAW and Friends of the Koala veterinarians didn't think the small marsupial would survive the injuries. In fact, Ember fully recovered and was released back into the wild in April 2020. 18 months later, animal rights activists suddenly discovered her with a baby on her back. Now Ember is having offspring again. "Ember contributes to the future of this iconic species, which is so important because koalas are critically endangered in New South Wales," Sharrad said.
In the notorious "Black Summer", bushfires devastated more than twelve million hectares of land in Australia. According to WWF estimates, more than 60,000 of the koalas native only Down Under were killed, injured, displaced or traumatized. Images of animals with singed fur and burned paws went around the world. Last year, several states officially upgraded the endangered status of the droll marsupial from vulnerable to endangered.