Two heroic cousins have taken it upon themselves to save as many injured koalas as possible after bushfires devastated the marsupials’ home on Kangaroo Island.
The teenagers filmed their journey as they loaded several koalas into their car and took off in search of help in a clip shared to Reddit on Sunday.
‘This is our little koala rescue,’ one man could be heard saying in the clip.
He focused in on a mother koala who was cuddling with her joey.
‘We are just trying to collect as many live ones as we can,’ he said.
Social media users have been left shocked by the impact of the fires in Australia and the heavy toll the blazes have taken on the country’s wildlife.
‘They look so terrified and exhausted. The world needs more people like your cousins,’ one person said after viewing the clip.
Another said: ‘As an American who hasn’t been to Australia, this is mind blowing to me.
‘Koalas seem so exotic and fantastical that I assumed they were hard to spot in the wild, let alone being able to just grab them. Major respect for these kind people who are saving them.’
A third person said: ‘The world is a better place with your cousins in it. It is an absolute travesty what is happening. I hope your family remains safe.’
Koalas were introduced to the island in the 1920s and were free from chlamydia, unlike the mainland population.
Thousands of koalas are believed to have died in the Kangaroo Island blazes alone.
Sam Mitchell, co-owner of the Kangaroo Island Wildlife Park, told Guardian Australia they have had 50 injured koalas brought to them.
‘At least a third of what has been brought in we’ve had to euthanise, unfortunately,’ he said.
‘We are seeing many burns to hands and feet – fingernails melted off. For some the burns are just too extreme.’
Some of the islanders considered the marsupials pests when their population grew to 50,000.
Mr Mitchell said he believes at least half the population has perished in the blazes.
Last month, koalas were declared ‘functionally extinct’ as the worst bushfire season on record has destroyed 80 per cent of their habitat in some parts of Australia.
Horrifying images showed the extent of the fire-ravaged island after a third of it was burned.
A convoy of army vehicles with up to 100 reservists arrived on the island on Monday to help the community.
Work is also underway to restore power supplies with about 600 properties still without electricity.
SA Power Networks says customers may be without services for an extended period while the damage to equipment is determined.
It says only a portion of the affected area has been inspected so far and crews have already identified 12km of lines brought down.
Some mobile phone and landline services in parts of Kangaroo Island are down, with Telstra advising it is working as quickly as possible to restore connections.
Cooler weather and some rain across the fireground on Saturday and Sunday brought some relief but the Country Fire Service declared a total fire ban for Monday in the wake of a number of flare-ups and the prospect of rising temperatures from Wednesday.
A large number of homes, farms and other buildings are thought destroyed along with tourism and service infrastructure.
The fire also claimed two lives with outback pilot Dick Lang, 78, and his 43-year-old son Clayton Lang, who were killed when their car became trapped by flames near Parndana.