Australian Army soldiers are becoming professional koala cuddlers in their downtime and it’s adorable
This season’s bushfires in Australia have produced countless heartbreaking stories and images, as the continent has been fighting the flames for weeks and losing millions of their native wild animals in the process. Koalas have been hit particularly hard with thousands dying and many being brought to wildlife rehab centers to recover from injuries sustained in the fires. The Australian Army is stepping in to help by using their days off to help snuggle the animals and it’s exactly as heartwarming as you’d think.
#OurPeople from 16th Regiment Emergency Support Force have used their rest periods to lend a helping hand at the Cleland Wildlife Park, supporting our furry friends during feeding time and by building climbing mounts inside the park,” reads a caption from a post on the Australian Army Facebook page.
They shared photos of the troops holding koalas, some feeding and some just snuggling, as one does when holding a sweet koala bear.
Sadly, koalas were already at risk even before this season’s devastating bushfires came through. In 2018, they were considered functionally extinct with populations falling to dangerously low numbers.
In the post, the Army called the troops’ visit to Cleland Wildlife Park “a great morale boost for our hard working team in the Adelaide Hills.” We imagine stopping to spend time with adorable koala bears is a nice way to spend a day off, but beyond being fun, the work they’re doing is incredibly important when it comes to helping the species recover.
There have been reports that over 1 billion animals have perished during Australia’s 2019-2020 bushfire season, including thousands of koalas. People are doing all they can to raise money toward helping them survive this natural disaster including an ad agency that’s leaving stuffed koala bear toys all over New York City to encourage people to donate money to help with bushfire relief.
With all the sad stories emerging from this horrifying bushfire season, the world needs to see that some animals are recovering thanks to the hard work of wildlife experts and the kindly Army personnel willing to donate their free time to help the little guys get better quick.