Burned koala Sam – symbol of deadly “Black Saturday” Australian fires – now a museum display

Burned koala Sam – symbol of deadly “Black Saturday” Australian fires – now a museum display

14 January 2010

published by www.nydailynews.com


Australia — An adoring public will once again get to see a cute and cuddly Australian icon – stuffed and perched in a tree – at aMelbourne museum.

Sam the koala became the face ofAustralia’s deadly “Black Saturday” bushfires last year when volunteer firemanDavid Tree found her in scorched bushland in Victoria last February, theTimes of London said.

Sam became world-famous after a video of the badly burned koala drinking from Tree’s water bottle was posted onYouTube.

Despite third-degree burns to her paws, Sam survived after being cared for at a wildlife shelter where 100 fire-injured koalas recuperated after the fires. Sam died in August after being stricken with a deadly disease that affects 50% of Australia’s koalas, the Times said.

The exhibit shows Sam in her recovery phase complete with pink bandages covering her burns.

“Sam became a symbol of the enormous loss felt by so many in the aftermath of last year’s terrible bushfires, and for this reason I believe it’s important that visitors from Victoria, across Australia and from overseas can see Sam and be reminded of her story and the events of Black Saturday,”Dr. Patrick Greene, chief executive of theMelbourne Museum told the Times.

For his part, Tree said that he supported the museum’s exhibit of Sam.

“I think this will give people a chance to get up close and personal with what happened,” he told the Herald Sun newspaper. “It just shows you not only humans suffer in bushfires, but so do our native wildlife.”

The bushfires killed 173 people and destroyed more than 2,000 homes in Victoria.


Sam became world-famous after a video of the badly burned koala drinking from Tree’s water bottle was posted on YouTube. Photo: AP


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