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Koala's journey from bushfire victim to thriving mum



A koala who survived the Black Summer bushfires in northern New South Wales has been spotted in the wild with a second joey born since the natural disaster.

Ember was found walking on the burnt ground in Whiporie in November 2019 after devastating fires swept through the area.

The 18-month-old koala was severely dehydrated and her fur was black, coated in soot and badly singed.

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Her lungs were congested from smoke inhalation, and she had suffered significant burns to her rump and all four paws.

Despite an initially worrying prognosis, Ember's health improved and she made a full recovery under the care of the vet team at Friends of the Koala, supported by the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW).

She was released back into the wild in April 2020.

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ember koala

About 18 months later in 2021, in the same area where she was released, Ember was spotted in the wild with her first joey.

Now, the bushfire survivor has surprised observers again with another joey seen clinging to her pouch.

IFAW wildlife campaign manager Josey Sharrad said Ember's story offered hope for the future of the species.

"This is beyond the best outcome we could have wished for. We really didn't think Ember was going to make it and not only did she make it but she's now thriving in the wild," Sharrad said.

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"Ember is contributing to the future of this iconic species which is so important as koalas in New South Wales are endangered."

The Friends of the Koala vet team said Ember's story has touched many hearts.

"Even just one koala surviving a catastrophic bushfire event and then going on to reproduce gives us hope that we can save this endangered species," Friends of the Koala hospital superintendent veterinary surgeon Dr Jackie Reed said.

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