Monday 19 March 2018

Bushfire koala now in museum display

Sophie Tedmanson in Sydney

She became an international star after the devastating bushfires that tore through Australia last year. Footage of her survival served as a symbol of hope for the country after the disaster.

Now, after her death, Sam the koala has been stuffed and put on display at a museum in Melbourne.

Sam was found by David Tree, a volunteer firefighter, in burnt-out bushland in Victoria in February and gained popularity around the world after a video of the badly burnt koala drinking from Mr Tree's water bottle was posted on YouTube.

The footage was viewed extensively in the aftermath of Australia's worst bushfires, which killed 173 people and destroyed more than 2,000 dwellings, leaving 7,500 people homeless in Victoria and the towns of Marysville and Kinglake decimated.

Despite suffering third-degree burns to her paws, Sam survived her injuries after being cared for by a volunteer at the Southern Ash Wildlife Shelter.

But in August she died from chlamydia, which affects around 50pc of Australia's koalas.

The much-loved koala is now on display at the Melbourne museum. The exhibit shows Sam in her recovery phase, perched on a gum tree, with bandages covering her burns.

Mr Tree said he thought the exhibit was a good idea.

"It just shows you not only humans suffer in bushfires but so do our native wildlife."

Patrick Greene, chief executive at the museum, said he hoped the display would educate the public about the tragedy of the "Black Saturday" bushfires. (©The Times, London)

Irish Independent

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