Sam, The Australian Bushfire Koala Dies
Remember the devastating Australian bushfires earlier this year that wiped out a couple thousand homes, made over 7,000 folk homeless and killed 173 people? You might also recall the koala dubbed Sam, who became a symbol of hope in that tragic time. She was captured drinking three bottles of water offered by volunteer firefighter. Well, the ABC report that sadly Sam has died. But not directly from burns sustained during the bushfires. But she was put down by a vet due to complications from cysts that are linked to the life-threatening disease chlamydia. This is cruel condition is a bacterium infection that causes infertility, blindness and ultimately death. It is not feasible to to treat wild animals for chlamydia, as effective treatment requires extended use of antibiotics.
The Australian Prime Minister even took time out from his Pacific Forum obligations to record his thoughts on Sam's demise, as seen in this video clip, which also shows the koala famously gulping down the proffered water.
While chlamydia is claiming scalps in a large part of the Australian koala population it is loss of habitat, through land clearing and subsequent human settlement, with their dogs and cars that is really hammering the furry critters.
The Australian Koala Foundation have an education campaign around the phrase "No Tree - No Me""No Tree - No Me" to drive this point home. And their ambassador, model Miranda Kerr even posed naked, symbolically chained to a tree, on the cover of Rolling Stone to emphasis the koala's plight.
Top Photo: Reuters, via ABC, middle Australian Koala Foundation and lower, theblemish.com
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