MY NEWS AND ESCAPADES

The days that followed the fire bought in the Army and news crews and lots of volunteers for the massive clean up and hand feeding stations that were set up at Hanson Bay Wildlife Park. Trees needed to be felled or cut back, koalas that remained needed to be checked and moved out for triage and the healthy ones needed to fed. It was a massive effort and one that will be on going for some time. As I walked around documenting what was happening there was a shift in energy from grim to hopeful as everyone jumped in and got things done. A giant pit was dug for all the dead animals which the army took care of. Donations of food came from far and wide. It was a massive effort.

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.

 

After much deliberation of images this shot of the Flinders has been chosen for a massive installation in the USA who has a parent company here in Australia also. I hope they send a photo of it when its up.

Page 4 of 29

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