RSPCA wildlife rescues after Kangaroo Island bushfires, told through photos

January 14, 2020

Yesterday, our first RSPCA South Australia team returned from a tough few days on Kangaroo Island treating fire-affected animals. 

The team of three – veterinarian Gayle, inspector Cheryl and animal handler Cher – spent four days assessing and caring for wildlife in fire-devastated areas of the island before our second team arrived.

Here, we’d like to share the work of our dedicated team through images.

January 10: without electricity or running water, our team treats burn victims in a makeshift vet clinic

Inspector Cheryl treats a koala’s burnt feet.

A sedated koala is given pain relief as their wounds are dressed.

Animal handler Cher and vet Gayle treat another burnt koala.

The aftermath of the fires.

January 11: for the first time, our team is allowed into the Hanson Bay Wildlife Sanctuary on KI’s badly hit western side

Cher inspects the damage.

Our team gets to work at an impromptu field animal hospital in Hanson Bay.

January 12: venturing across the island, our team looks out for any remaining survivors amid ash and rubble

This lizard, a rare Rosenberg Goanna, was among the survivors.

A burnt koala is sedated and given pain relief before being brought to safety.

SAVEM’s field animal hospital at Parndana.

January 13: As our first team departs, our ‘travelling pet supplies’ van arrives to help affected domestic animals

Commercial operations manager Stuart has arrived with the animal ambulance, bearing dog and cat food, chicken pellets and bird seed, collars and leads, food and water bowls, medication, cat litter trays and more.

Tired and sore koalas rest in a play pen kindly donated by Petbarn.

We’re so grateful for the overwhelming amount of support we’ve received during this crisis. It’s thanks to funding from our supporters that we’re able to continue treating animals in need on fire-devastated Kangaroo Island. To help us continue this work, you can donate to our Bushfire Appeal here


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59 thoughts on “RSPCA wildlife rescues after Kangaroo Island bushfires, told through photos”

  1. Susan Smith

    Keep up the great work you are doing. Such sad faces on some of the koalas, but I would imagine they are very grateful for the care you are providing them.

  2. Nikki Mucha

    Bless your hearts and thankyou so much Team. Dissapointed i couldnt come over and help.
    Love your work
    Love our Koalas
    Volunteer in Adelaide South.🐨💕🌳🐾💕
    🐨💔🐨💕

  3. Samantha Fraser

    Thankyou to all you wonderful people caring & looking after all these poor little koalas & animals. It must be distressing & heartbreaking to see them in pain. Keep up the good work & its great to see so many people helping with donations 🙏🙏

  4. Astrid Lamont

    Great work folks . We stand beside you in spirit. If there’s anything you need can you let SA Health know so we can gather up recently expired stock. Anything from Anaesthetic circuits , masks , dressings, fluids

    1. Hi Astrid, thank you so much for thinking of us. We have a great need for medical supplies on KI and these types of supplies are always welcome 🙂 If you’d like to donate these, please bring them to our Lonsdale shelter or head office at Stepney and mention that you would like them to be used for wildlife rescue efforts on KI. Thank you.

  5. Lee Matthews

    Angels do walk amongst us!! Thank you! Xxx

  6. Daphne Kurbatfinski

    Thank you from the bottom of our hearts,koalas,wallabys they are our islands treasure…

  7. Carol Jay

    You guys are angels. Your tireless efforts searching for any survivors are to be applauded. I for one are humbled by your work. Thankyou from me from the very bottom of my heart.

  8. Lillian Sobey

    Thankyou thankyou thankyou can’t be said enough for all you wonderful people caring for these animals you truely are a gift with your patience and knowledge. We are lucky to have people like you and I am sure if the animals could talk they too would say the same. Much love to all of you and the poor animals in your care big hugs to all involved. Where would they be without you xoxo

  9. Mike lewis

    Thank you all for your tireless effort, keep up the great work, hope all our donations are getting through to you.

  10. Georgia

    Well done guys. What a team 🙌

  11. Mary Wheeler

    Yes you all are angels working endless to save such precious animals. My prayers are with all of you to stay safe and have strength to continue and for Australia.

  12. Tracey Finlay

    The words Thank you don’t seem enough. You are the light in a very sad time. We are lucky to have the RSPCA. It gives us hope knowing the animals are being cared for.

  13. Louise

    A tough job to do. Thank you for all of your hard work

  14. Janelle

    Thank you so much for the work you are doing for the koalas and all the wildlife affected by those horrendous fires. You are all angels 😇💖🐨🦘🦔🦎🐾🙏

  15. June Muir

    You people are amazing it breaks my heart to see the animals in pain you are all wonderful people thank you so much

  16. Jen

    Well done everyone it must be hard for them not to tell us they are in terrible pain

  17. Jayne

    Bless you guys helping the injured wildlife.
    There ARE Angels who walk among us, they just don’t have wings.
    With love and gratitude.
    Jayne K. – England

  18. Helen power

    Bless you all heartbreaking work with hopefully. Some joy as they recover

  19. Fiona Cations

    Brings me to tears looking at the devastation! What a great effort you’ve put in to save all you can! Thankyou xx

  20. Rhonda

    Thank you, thank you, thank you. 😥😥😥

  21. Katherine Hamilton

    Thankyou to all the dedicated courageous carers for their relentless efforts to find and help our precious wildlife! Everyone they save is a miracle! You truly are remarkable souls!

  22. Linda Balogh

    To the beautiful volunteers,
    Just looking at the above images makes me cry and wrenches at my heart 💔, so I can only imagine what it must be like to be there first-hand witnessing the horrors of this catastrophic event.
    Like others here have mentioned, I am so very humbled by what you guys are doing to help our injured Koalas 🐨 and other precious wildlife. I thank you 🙏 all from the bottom of my heart and hope that you are all doing okay and taking care of yourselves and each other during such distressing work. 🥰
    Much love to you 🐨❤️🐨❤️🙏

  23. Edith

    I wonder how many people are there on Kangaroo Island helping to search and rescue the animals. Do they need volunteers? Three people is not enough to search the area thoroughly 🙁

    1. Hi Edith, there are crews from multiple organisations and charities assisting with this effort. At this stage, with many fires still burning uncontrolled and flare ups happening daily, it’s not really safe for volunteers beyond these to come over. Thank you.

  24. Sharyn

    You deserve a medal: must be such painstaking and distressing work. Well done to everyone.

  25. Kirby Jade

    Wonderful work, thank you so much for everything you are doing for our beautiful animals, words can’t express my gratitude, I wish I could help more than just giving a donation.

  26. Merinda

    Thanks for caring for them if I was allowed to I would have. One from South Africa to help

  27. Peter Masters

    It’s a pity the volunteers at the Wildlife Park who have been there from the beginning, where the RSPCA set up, did not receive any acknowledgement for all the work they did prior to and during the arrival of the RSPCA.

  28. Cathy Reid

    Wonderful work all the volunteers are doing to help these innocent victims of the fires!

  29. Trudy

    I can only but praise you for the excellent job that you all do, for all the love and care you give these animals, you are all angels and so deserve so much appreciation for all you are doing, well done keep up the good work you are all amazing xxx

  30. Liza

    Fantastic work, thank you so much for caring & looking after our gorgeous wildlife. 🐨

  31. Helen Danuels

    Many thanks for your dedication. Compassion and hard work though it must surely take it’s toll
    Take care of yourselves too as those lucky animals get saved

  32. Christine Norris

    Thank you for your wonderful work. Lovely to see that goanna too.

  33. Nicole

    Just heartbreaking – thank you for all the work that you are doing xx

  34. Josie Shrubsole

    Wonderful selfless people ♥️

  35. Lisa Shaw

    “When I was a little boy, and I saw bad things, my mother told me to look for the helpers.” Mr. Rodgers
    Thank you to the helpers! You have renewed our faith in mankind! ❤️

  36. Susan Loutzenhiser

    It is so difficult to see such sadness and pain in their poor little eyes. Burns are so painful and just the shock from the pain can end the desire to live. Thank you to all of you who are working so hard to save these innocent creatures.

  37. Wendy Clark

    Fabulous work to every one involved
    you are all angels, we in Australia can never thank you enough for all your hard, caring & loving work for all our native animals. It us heart breaking to see the mess they are in.
    Poor little guys. Tears are rolling down my cheeks .

  38. Karen Kingston

    So happy there are great people like you on our planet, may God bless each and every one. Thank you so very much. I wish beautiful karma for you all.💞💞💞🦘🐨💞💞💞🐨🦘🐨🦘

  39. Ashley

    Hiya. Thanks for all you’re doing for these animals. Can’t imagine the devastation and minute to minute toll these scenes take on you as the caretakers for these animals. Sending ❤️

  40. Karen

    God bless you all!

  41. Rosie Heritage

    It must be such an honour to help in the way you are.
    Hard work I know, but you are a lucky one to be there with them. Thank you immensely

  42. Peter Kemp

    When can volunteers go to the Island? We holiday each year in SA and last year went to Arid Recovery at Roxby Downs. Any site we can register?

    1. Hi Peter, have a look here for volunteering opportunities in state emergencies: https://www.volunteeringsa-nt.org.au/volunteers/spontaneous-emergency-volunteering#/opportunity/91408 You can read more about this type of volunteering here: https://www.volunteeringsa-nt.org.au/assets/volunteers/faq-spontaneous-emergency-volunteering-2.pdf 🙂 Please keep in mind that as fires continue to flare up, it may not be safe for volunteers outside of certain organisations already on the island to travel to KI to assist.

  43. Bev Porter

    Thank you from friends who can’t be with you to help!

  44. Dyane Auclair

    Thank you so much for the wonderful work you are doing on KI. It must be heartbreaking at time and I hope that you find the strength and the necessary courage to keep thinking positive and to find joy in little things that you see around you. On the photos I see hope and many steps in the right direction.

  45. Serena Watkins

    You are all amazing the work you are doing so strong in your spirit .. that’s what makes you all remarkable humans. I’ll be down as soon as I am able. 🙏✨✨🇦🇺🇦🇺.

  46. Valerie

    I have 2 small boxes of medical supplies i.e. bright coloured dandages, saline etc. Where can i sent these to?

    1. Hi Valerie, medical supplies are always welcome and massively appreciated! If you’d like to donate these supplies to directly help fire-affected animals on KI, you can drop them at our head office at Stepney or our Lonsdale Shelter. Just make sure you specify that you would like them to be used for fire-affected animals 🙂 Thank you.

  47. Jodie

    Praise the Lord for people like you! Thank you so very much for your love and dedication. Prayers from Canada

  48. Mary Ellen Bastian

    Thank God there are angels like you to come to the rescue of all animals, large and small. I cry when I see the pictures…. can only imagine what it’s like for all of you. May God bless you in all you do.

  49. Harnek singh

    Good job Australia … best example of huminity
    I’m from Indian
    Mejor I’m indian army
    A lots of from India

  50. Harnek singh

    It’s real example of huminity… God bless you all
    A lots of love from India
    Harnek singh

  51. Sharon Muir

    Thank you so much for giving care to our precious animals..it saddens my heart to see them in pain….but gladdens my heart to know they are being looked after by your team of AMAZING people….May the rains come to renew the land once more so our animals can thrive. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you.

  52. Dominica

    In tears looking at these beautiful and sad photos. What an incredible feat in such challenging conditions. It must be absolutely heartbreaking seeing the devastation and knowing you can’t save all of them. You’ve made me wish I had studied to be a vet xx

  53. Zorica

    Just thank you! Great Job and great People!

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