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Arnie The Koala Rescued From Bushfire But Tragically Dies Thanks To ‘Silent Killer’

by : Emma Rosemurgey on : 12 Jan 2020 10:25
Arnie The Koala Rescued From Bushfire But Tragically Dies Due To 'Silent Killer'Arnie The Koala Rescued From Bushfire But Tragically Dies Due To 'Silent Killer'Damian Campbell-Davys/Animalia Wildlife Shelter/Facebook

A koala who suffered minor burns in the Australian bushfires has tragically died as a result of a ‘silent killer’.

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Arnie the koala was nursed back to health after he was rescued from the blaze in Victoria’s East Gippsland and fortunately, he only suffered minor burns to his hands and feet from the flames.

However, it was a simple act of kindness from a stranger that led to Arnie’s death, after the people who rescued him gave him a drink of water from their bottle.

Arnie The Koala Rescued From Bushfire But Tragically Dies Due To 'Silent Killer'Arnie The Koala Rescued From Bushfire But Tragically Dies Due To 'Silent Killer'bikebug2019/Instagram

Now, Animalia Wildlife Shelter has taken to social media to warn kind helpers on the correct way to give water to desperate wildlife.

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Writing on Facebook, the charity said:

They were just trying to help. They didn’t know that it is dangerous for koalas to drink this way.

They didn’t know that koalas usually get most of their water via the gum leaves that they eat and they don’t often drink water, but when they do, they are face down and lapping small amounts with their tongue.

The post explained that when koalas hold their head back and take in too much water, it can get into their lungs and cause aspiration pneumonia, which in some instances can be fatal.

They continued:

This is exactly what happened to little Arnie. Despite a mammoth rescue effort involving all three emergency services and wildlife rescuers he died… more specifically he drowned.

Michelle Thomas, who owns the shelter, stressed that she’s not trying to shame anyone for trying to help the wildlife.

Speaking to Daily Mail Australia, she said:

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We’re not saying don’t give them a drink, we’re saying don’t pour it – it needs to be in a bowl.

It is completely safe for them to have water out of a bowl.

Australian BushfiresAustralian BushfiresPA Images

Thomas is now urging people to use the correct drinking method before wrapping the koala in a blanket and taking it to the nearest shelter.

The Facebook post explains:

If you are nowhere near help then the best way to hydrate koalas is to PLACE A BOWL OF WATER ON THE GROUND OR POUR THE WATER IN TO YOUR HAT/HELMET/CUP ETC AND HOLD NEAR KOALAS [sic] MOUTH SO THAT IT CAN LAP AT IT, FACE DOWN.

Please remember that Koalas are arboreal and nocturnal. If you see one sitting on the ground during the day then please contact a wildlife rescue organisation.

Let’s hope this useful information prevents any further koalas from dying unnecessarily after their rescue.

If you have a story you want to tell, send it to UNILAD via [email protected]

Emma Rosemurgey

Emma Rosemurgey is an NCTJ trained Journalist who started her career by producing The Royal Rosemurgey newspaper in 2004, which kept her family up to date with the goings on of her sleepy north east village. She graduated from the University of Central Lancashire in Preston and started her career in regional newspapers before joining Tyla (formerly Pretty 52) in 2017, and progressing onto UNILAD in 2019.

Topics: Animals, Arnie the koala, Aspiration pneumonia, Australia, Bushfires, koalas

Credits

Daily Mail Australia
  1. Daily Mail Australia

    Arnie the koala is rescued from bushfires with minor burns and nursed back to health - but tragically dies thanks to a 'silent killer'