As Australia’s fires continue to burn and the military, firefighters, animal rescues, and first responders work tirelessly to control the flames, save the people and their wildlife; locals are also stepping up to assist when possible. One of the many honorable mentions is Micah Lovegrove and his family.
Lovegrove and his family have property on Kangaroo Island, where the wildfires have ravaged and destroyed the area where his uncle’s house once stood, in South Australia. As Lovegrove was observing the damaged property, he spotted a koala huddled beside a nearby tree.
He brought the koala into his car and couldn’t help but look for more distressed marsupials in the burned-out area. Lovegrove saved seven koalas that day and packed them all in his vehicle, which can be viewed on a YouTube video. In the video, Lovegrove is heard saying, “Just trying to collect as many live ones as we can,” as the camera depicts koalas sitting throughout his car.
“We’d move the car, go running again, and pick up some. Rinse and repeat. We grabbed one last guy who was super feisty, so we didn’t position him in the car. Well, he’s the one on the seat,” he said.
The koalas had been taken to Lovegrove’s neighbor, who has a permit to care for Australia’s wildlife. Unfortunately, during the drive to the neighbors, one marsupial passed away due to the injuries. The rest are currently under the neighbors care.
The fires are still raging, and approximately 400,000 acres of land on Kangaroo Island alone have been scorched, according to local news outlets. Wildfires have been burning since September 2019 and have been fueled by drought along with the country’s hottest and driest year on record. At least 25 people and an estimated billion animals have died.
It is the kindness of strangers and those humans willing to put themselves in the heart of the danger to fight and protect their lands, people and animals are the unsung heroes, and we at Operation Earth salute them, and thank every one of them.