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Kangaroo Island bush fires 2020

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The bush fires have been devastating to the west end of the island. In early January a few days after the fire went through Hanson Bay Wildlife Park I was asked to go down to take some photos. As we drove around the park and surrounds we saw first hand the devastation of the region with death everywhere. It was confronting with the stench of fire and death everywhere. There were many animals that survived some that would later die of injuries or breathing problems or starvation but some that would be rescued and taken away for care and some that would be hand fed.

Just before we had to leave in a hurry due the fire front which was still burning near Parndarna and had a wind shift back in our direction. I saw the scene from a distance and was not sure what I was looking at until I got a little closer and realised it was a Koala. I thought she was dead sitting in front of the bird bath but as I approached closer she managed to lift her head and look at me.  In that moment with her eye contact to mine it broke something in me. I walked up and crouched down in front of her and tried to offer some water and she struggled to lick my hand and I was heart broken her hands and feet burnt, she was in so much pain and dying and I thought I was going to throw up. The bird bath was dry so she just sat at the edge and was waiting to die. It took me days to be able to look at this shot as it upset me so much. This scene and my interaction will haunt me forever. She was put down a few minutes later which was the kindest thing for her. There was no happy ending here.

 

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