Zenani is one of the lucky ones.
She endured the wrath of the Heatherbrae bushfire upon her mother’s back and somehow ended up at the Williamtown RAAF base where staff found her sitting alone on Monday night.
Her mother has not been found.
Zenani, who weighs only two kilograms, is about 12 months old and is almost ready to be independent.
She was put in the hands of Helen Mallam, of Medowie, who is one of the Native Animal Trust Fund’s many koala carers.
Mrs Mallam named her furry charge after Nelson Mandella’s great-granddaughter who died in a car accident in 2010.
She is also caring for an eight kilogram male koala that was found hanging from a tree in bushland.
“They were dehydrated and starving,” she said.
“It’s lucky that they didn’t suffer from smoke inhalation and that the insides of their mouth wasn’t burnt, so they can still eat. They’ve been eating a lot of leaves.”
Mrs Mallam hoped both koalas would survive.
“Zenani is lucky that she hasn’t lost her nails because often they don’t grow back properly and they need their nails to climb trees,” she said.
A team of 10 Native Animal Trust Fund wildlife carers went on a black walk yesterday through the devastation the fire has left to look for injured wildlife.
Hundreds of animals have been killed in the fire, exactly how many will never be known.
Noah’s Ark Veterinary Clinic in Medowie has already treated several koalas and a red belly black snake that was found burnt.
Veterinarian Dr Ilona Hudson said one koala would undergo surgery today because it had been hit by a car after it escaped the fire.
She said it would have a pin inserted into its leg and be passed onto a carer, who would take care of its rehabilitation.
Residents are urged to put water in containers on the ground for kangaroos and wallabies and water in trees for birds and koalas.
Anyone who sees an injured animal and can capture it, can take it to Noah’s Ark Veterinary Clinic in Medowie.
If it is unsafe to capture the animal, call wildlife rescuers on 0418 628 483 which is a 24-hour emergency service.