Saturday, January 10, 2015

Helping Hands: People Made Burn Treatment Mittens For Koalas Injured In Australian Fires

A koala bear with burned paws receiving
treatment with one of the special mittens
voluteers made for them. Image from
the International Fund for Animal Welfare.  
One of the saddest consequences of wildfires that recently burned through parts of Australia is that the flames consumed some of the habitat occupied by koala bears.

Many of the bears died in the fires. Others suffered burns, especially as they clung to hot trees or tried to escape the fires by running across flaming grassland.

Officials retrieved many of the injured koalas and brought them to wildlife rescue centers where workers are treating the koala bears burned paws.

A special call went out, and people responded: Wildlife rescuers released an easy to follow pattern where people could use cotton sheets or tea towels to make special mittens for the koalas.

Veterinarians have to change the koala bear's dressings daily to treat the burns, and between the treatments, they put on those specialized mittens to protect the koalas' injured paws.

The step-by-step instructions were simple enough so that even the biggest klutz at the sewing machine could make them.

So many people responded to the call to make the mittens that a new alert had to go out: Stop, for now. We have enough mittens.

In a Facebook post labeled "Mitten Accomplished," the International Fund for Animal Welfare thanked everyone for their outpouring of support. Because of that, there's a more than adequate supply of koala mittens.

"Our amazing supporters were more than koalified for the job," the animal welfare group said.

Let's hope the surviving koalas have a smooth and full recovery. And no more bush fires, please.

 And our amazing supporters were more than koalified for the job.

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