A heartbreaking directive in Australia calls for the killing of baby koalas and kangaroos (joeys) who are found in the areas devastated by raging bush fires. As reported by Yahoo News, the Victorian Response Plan for Wildlife Impacted by Fire advises that milk dependent joeys and orphaned koalas should not be supported by volunteers because, “these animals require significant long-term care and cannot be successfully returned to the wild.”
The directive is said to be causing “distress” among rescue volunteers who have been working to save the babies. There is also anger that government workers are entering the fire zones and killing orphaned koalas and joeys. Rex Box Wildlife Shelter operator Nikki Medwell told Yahoo News Australia, “Overabundant animals like macropods or koalas they don’t deem necessary to rescue.” Adding, “It doesn’t matter whether they’ve been burnt, if they’re found on the fire ground they’re shot. So that’s totally healthy, viable wildlife, including koalas which some are saying are on the brink of extinction.”
Officials estimate that over 500 million animals have perished in the widespread bushfires that have been raging across much of Australia. According to ABC News, 24 people have been arrested for intentionally setting the fires which have ravaged the country. An additional 53 people are facing charges for not adhering to burn ban regulations. An estimated 2000 homes have been destroyed and 24 human deaths are blamed on the fires which have devastated over 12 million acres.
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