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Photos of Koala Escaping Heatwave

Summary:
Email claims that attached photographs show a wild koala that came inside a back porch to seek relief from a heatwave that struck southern Australia in early 2009 (Full commentary below).



Status:
True


Example:(Submitted, February 2009)

Version One:

Subject: FW: Heatwave

In Victoria the temperature has been above 44 degrees all week and they are forecasting another week of 40+ temperatures. Power is failing, trains have stopped running because tracks are buckling under the heat . Itís just scorching and it seems that the people are not the only ones suffering.

Check out these photos of a little Koala which just walked onto a back porch looking for a bit of heat relief. The woman filled up a bucket for it and this is what happened!

Version Two:

Subject: FW: Heat

A guy at work lives at Maude. His wife sent him these photos of a little Koala which just walked into the back porch looking for a bit of heat relief. She filled up a bucket and this is what happened!

Koala escaping heat 1

Koala escaping heat 2

Koala escaping heat 3

Koala escaping heat 4

Koala escaping heat 4




Commentary:
According to this message, which circulates via email and has been posted to numerous blogs and forums, accompanying photographs show a little koala that walked into a back porch apparently to find some respite from a severe heat wave that struck southern regions of Australia in early 2009.

The photographs are authentic and depict a real event. According to a February 5 article published in The Age, the baby koala, dubbed "Star" because of her rising Internet fame, wandered into a family home during a heatwave in the Australian state of Victoria. The article notes:
A family in Maude, near Geelong, photographed the young female koala taking a dip after finding her on their verandah, shaking and distressed.

Images of the dehydrated koala bathing in a bucket of water have circulated around Australia, New Zealand and Britain.

Tracey Young's 10-year-old nephew, Tom Durren, and his sister, Kate, 6, discovered the koala on Friday when temperatures reached the high 40s.
Mrs Young said that the koala climbed into the bucket of its own accord and stayed there for about twenty minutes. A wildlife carer who later took the koala to her property for ongoing care explained that the baby may have been abandoned by its mother because of the heatwave. She added that it is not unusual for koalas to "take a dip" during hot weather.

Victoria certainly did experience a very severe heatwave during January and February 2009 that resulted in power outages and transport delays. Tragically, the severe heat in Victoria, along with other adverse conditions, contributed to the Victoria Bushfire Disaster. Many people were killed and whole townships destroyed as the fires raged through rural communities in Victoria.

Wildlife was also severely affected by the fires with massive destruction of natural habitat and the death or injury of millions of animals. Another koala, dubbed "Sam" has also become quite famous after footage of her being give water out of bottle by a fire fighter was aired on TV news. Sam has rapidly become a symbol for hope amid the chaos caused by the disaster.

References:
Heatwave koala finds internet fame
Heatwave states brace for more power, transport outages
Victorian bushfires destroy 1800 homes, police close in on arsonist

Last updated: 13th February 2009
First published: 13th February 2009

Write-up by Brett M. Christensen