Billy was found clinging to a tree in a backyard in Adelaide Hills, Australia, destruction from the fires all around him. It was clear he needed help, and when his rescuers pulled him from the tree he let out a loud cry — then immediately settled down and snuggled up in his carrier, as he seemed to know that help had finally arrived!
Billy was taken in by Lucy and Adam Francis, who work with 1300Koalaz to help rescue and rehabilitate injured koalas. They’ve had their work cut out for them lately, as the wildfires that have been raging across Australia since September have affected almost a billion animals.
Billy was no exception. All four legs were badly burned. His career took him to the vet, where he was bandaged and then taken home to begin the healing process. “Because all his legs are bandaged, he cannot climb, nor can he stay in the ordinary fence we used to take care of the koala,
so we had to think outside of the box and we made a makeshift enclosure for him in our kitchen so we could be close to him always,” Lucy Francis told The Dodo. “We used a camping mattress for him to sit on, and placed a pillow behind him for him to lean back in as it was difficult for him to sit in a normal koala position. He was clearly in shock, frightened and covered in soot and ash from the fire.”
As a sizable koala, the couple worried that Billy would be difficult to care for. When he first came into their care, he seemed frustrated that he had been through a lot, but from the start, Billy was one of the sweetest and gentlest koalas the couple had ever seen.
“When Billy first came to us and might have bitten my husband’s hand had he been a different-tempered koala, he sniffed it and licked it gently instead,” Francis said. “We have a very close relationship with him and he lets us handle him as we need to and clearly trusts us, despite still being very much a wild koala.
”When Billy was first rescued, he was so weak he couldn’t even feed himself very well, and his carers had to give him extra food and vitamins to help with the healing process. As the days go by, though, Billy is getting stronger and stronger, and the couple can tell he’s becoming so much happier as his health improves.