Australia Begins to Release Koalas Back Into the Wild After Bushfires

It's a hell of a time to reemerge into the world

koalas australian bushfires
Guess who's back, back again.
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By Kayla Kibbe / March 24, 2020 6:30 am

Remember when the worst thing happening to the world was Australia being on literal fire instead of the entire scope of human society rapidly descending into a metaphorical dumpster fire? Well, it turns out that episode of the seemingly distant pre-coronavirus era was actually only a few months ago, and now that the danger of the Australian bushfires has made way for much more widespread dangers currently ravaging the world, the koalas are being released back into the wild.

Four adult koalas, the first of 12 rescued from the Blue Mountains area during the bushfires, have been released in Kanangra-Boyd National Park in the state of New South Wales, Mashable reported. The release of the remainder, which have all been sheltering at Sydney’s Taronga Zoo since January, will reportedly be fast-tracked due to the spread of the coronavirus.

The reentry of the first few animals back into the wild marks a critical first step in rehabilitating the area’s population. A total of 10,000 koalas, a third of the total koala population of New South Wales, are estimated to have died from the combined forces of the bushfires and summer droughts. The Blue Mountains region houses the most genetically diverse population of koalas, making the area particularly crucial to species conservation.

“There is still a lot of work to be done to assess what is left of koalas in this region and plan for population recovery,” said Jen Tobey, population sustainability researcher at San Diego Zoo Global, in a statement. “We are dedicated to continuing to support this critical work to conserve a significant koala population.”

Congrats to the koalas, even if it is a hell of a time to be returning to society. If only viral charity porn could save us now.

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