Patrick Boyle rescues koalas from Mallacoota in Victoria.

A Victorian man has been hailed a hero for rescuing dozens of koalas in the bushfires.

Since fires raced through the region around Mallacoota, Boyle has been out searching for injured wildlife.

Boyle, 22, entered the charred eucalyptus forest in Mallacoota – a small town in the East Gippsland region of Victoria – on Wednesday to search for animals he could save. 

“”I instantly found a burned koala that I took straight back to the wildlife shelter. It was actually remarkable how quickly I found koalas,” he told Stuff.co.nz

“I’ve found eight or nine so far that have been rescued. I found over 10 that were dead and about another five that are alive and healthy for the time being.”

Koalas may be functionally extinct after bushfires.

Boyle is appealing for donations to wildlife shelter, which he said was actually just someone’s house. 

“The place is rammed with koalas and other wildlife all through their lounge and back garden. They have very little resources, so any help that people can give is great.

“To give people a sense of what we’re dealing with, we’re expecting hot weather in the coming days and the shelter is right by a gully. This puts the shelter under threat so we are currently moving all of the animals to a temporary location now to ensure their safety tomorrow [Saturday].”

Thousands of koalas have been lost in the fires.
Kangaroo tries to flee the flames
A woman saved a koala in NSW in November 2019

Koalas may be ‘functionally extinct’ after these immense bushfires across Australia’s east coast and South Australia in recent weeks.

There are only 80,000 left in the wild at and least 10,000 have now died in the fires.

It is estimated so far 500 million animals, including mammals, reptiles and birds have died in the fires. That number will now be much higher.

Australia is facing an unprecedented ecological disaster in 2020, with many plant and animal species already under threat, potentially wiped out.

More on the bushfire crisis at Sydney News homepage.

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