How being trapped in a horrific bushfire saved this koala's life

Clare the koala suffered a potentially fatal injury to her neck about four days before bushfires hit, which inflicted more injuries but ultimately saved her life.

“Clare’s eyes tell a horrifying story,” Southern Koala Rescue wrote on Facebook on Tuesday.

The koala was trapped in the burning bush in South Australia, her home engulfed in flames.

The rescuers said she was “seconds away” from perishing in the flames, which were so close her eyes were left badly burnt. But she got out relatively unscathed, at least compared to other koalas.

Ironically, it was the fire that saved Clare, as the wound on her neck would have eventually killed her if she hadn’t been found and and taken into care.

Clare, a koala injured in a bushfire in South Australia is recovering from an eye infection and a nasty wound on her neck. Source: Supplied/Southern Koala Rescue

“I guess that's a weird positive to come from the fires in a way,” Ms Simpson said.

“Clare only has minor burns despite being found in a burning bush. Her biggest battle is she had a puncture would in her neck the size of a 20c piece,” Mish Simpson, the main carer at Southern Koala Rescue told Yahoo News Australia.

“The vet estimated the wound was at least four days old, so from before the fire started. She had a nasty fever and infection but with TLC and antibiotics her wound is healing well.”

Clare was found in the bush near Clarendon, hence her name, Ms Simpson said.

“Clare was well hidden in the burnt bush and was very lucky to have been found,” the Facebook post said.

Southern Koala Rescue operates in the southern regions of Adelaide, and the page “shares the stories of a network of volunteer koala rescuers and accredited carers.

The bushfires across the country have gravely impacted Australia’s koala population.

Clare is being cared for by the Southern Koala Rescue, and is slowly learning to trust her carer. Source: Southern Koala Rescue

There was concern that the chlamydia-free koalas on Kangaroo Island would be completely wiped out, as fire devastated the island off the South Australian mainland.

“Koalas in South Australia were already facing an uphill battle for survival,” a GoFundMe page set up to help save South Australia’s koalas says.

“With koala habitat becoming increasingly fragmented from continued residential development and food sources harder to find, our state’s koalas have to travel further for food.”

Not only do wildlife carers look after animals suffering from extreme weather or the bushfires, they also care for koalas injured from a vehicle accident or an attack from a dog.

The loss of habitat also means koalas are more likely to be a victim in a road accident, and dog attacks are also common in both urban and rural areas in South Australia.

“Not only do they suffer from the effects of habitat loss, they also have to contend with the increase of disease and illness, particularly chlamydia and renal disease, that plague the population,” the Go Fund Me says.

During this year’s summer, there has been an influx of koalas needing care in South Australia, not only due to fires, but also heatwaves, according to the GoFundMe campaign.

The money raised will go towards helping koalas like Clare, and another victim from the South Australian bushfires, Asha.

Asha’s paws, face and fur were completely singed in the Clarendon fire and the koala is now being treated for smoke inhalation.

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