Australia — Wildlife carers are bracing themselves for an influx of animals from the bushfires raging across the Northern Rivers.
One burnt koala was found by firefighters in the Kyogle area on Thursday and taken to the Friends of the Koala care centre in Lismore.
Friends of the Koala volunteer Barbara Dobner said the animal had to be euthanased, but she thanked the firefighters for their efforts.
He was covered in soot and the firies picked him up thinking they could save him, she said.
Im grateful that they did because otherwise he would have died a slow, horrible death.
She said volunteers were extremely concerned about the Kyogle Shire fires because they covered vast areas of bushland.
Last week we had a koala brought in from the Paddys Flat area near Tabulam, she said.
It hadnt been injured in fires, but there are fires in that area now so we know there are koalas out there.
A koala nicknamed Sooty is also recovering from burns at the Friends of the Koala care centre. She was taken to the centre several weeks ago after a bushfire in the Border Ranges.
Her fur was singed and paws burnt, but carer Sue Johnson said she was nearing full recovery and would soon be released.
Ms Johnson said she was particularly concerned about bushfires west of Cabarita where volunteers were waiting for permission to search the area for injured koalas.
Northern Rivers Rural Fire Service manager Michael Brett said firefighters battling six blazes in the Kyogle Shire were also keeping a lookout for injured wildlife.
A WIRES spokeswoman said local carers were already treating several heat-affected animals and they were prepared to treat burns or other fire-related health problems. However, she said animals caught in direct bushfire zones would be lucky to make it out alive.
We find unfortunately most animals perish. Especially those that live in hollows things like sugar gliders, she said.
If you find an injured or distressed animal you can call Friends of the Koala on 6622 1233, WIRES on 6628 1898 or Northern Rivers Wildlife Carers on 6628 1866.