Fire and Water

Koala facts:

* There are normally approximately 80,000 koalas in the Australian wild. About 15,000 live in the southern states, which have been devastated by fires.

* Koalas normally have a slow metabolic rate and sleep up to 16 hours a day.

* These marsupial mammals are normally most active just after sunset.

* They normally eat up to 500 grams (over one pound) of eucalyptus leaves each day. The high water content in these leaves means koalas rarely drink.

But this koala’s normal life, like so many others, has just been turned upside down:

The firefighter in the pic, David Tree, said Sam the koala chugged three bottles of water. “I could see she had sore feet and was in trouble, so I pulled over the fire truck. She just plonked herself down, as if to say ‘I’m beat’,” Mr Tree said. “The most amazing part was when she grabbed my hand. I will never forget that.”

The Herald Sun newspaper is selling this photo for $20. All proceeds go to the Country Fire Authority. Click here for details.

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